Mission San Buenaventura to commemorate canonization of its founder, St. Junipero Serra

VENTURA, CA - Pope Francis’ recent canonization of St. Junipero Serra, founder of Mission San Buenaventura (1782), will be celebrated November 21 at the historic Main Street church in downtown Ventura.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles will preside at a bilingual Mass, to be preceded by a 6:00 p.m. candlelight procession, starting at the site of the former Chumash Hutash Festival and San Miguel Chapel, at Thompson and Palm Streets in Ventura. The procession will conclude at Mission San Buenaventura, 211 E. Main St., at which point the Mass will begin.

The Mass is also among the first in a series of events connected to the 150th anniversary of the City of San Buenaventura’s Incorporation in 1866. The city’s roots (and its official name) trace to Mission San Buenaventura’s founding by Father Serra on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1782; it was the ninth and last mission the Franciscan priest founded in California before his death in 1784.

“The canonization of Saint Junipero Serra offers us an opportunity to reflect on the evangelization and religious legacy the Franciscan Friars initiated through the Mission system in Alta California,” said Father Tom Elewaut, Mission pastor, who was among those present for the canonization ceremony September 23 in Washington, D.C.

“This is also a time for recognition and integration of the First People of the Land who helped the padres establish the Missions and our Catholic legacy,” said Father Elewaut. He noted that the establishment of the missions provided the foundation for the growth of Catholic Church ministries: parishes, educational communities, health care facilities, and numerous outreach organizations like Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul Societies.

Concelebrating priests for the Nov. 21 Mass will include Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, recently named Episcopal Vicar for the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. San Buenaventura parishioners will be joined by clergy, religious and parishioners from the 37 parishes of the Santa Barbara Region (Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties).

The Mass will be live-streamed in the Mission’s O’Brien Hall in order to accommodate the anticipated overflow of worshippers. A reception will be held in the Mission Garden following the Mass. General parking will be available at the Ventura County Fairgrounds (Harbor Boulevard at Figueroa Street) with shuttle transportation provided to the procession site. Additional parking is available at the Museum of Ventura County lot and the lot behind the Knights of Columbus Hall off Santa Clara Street.

For information on the event (including seating arrangements and media passes), contact the Mission Parish Office at (805) 643-4318, or visit www.sanbuenaventuramission.org

211 East Main Street, San Buenaventura, California 93001-2622