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Mission San Gabriel 250 Years

Historic Church and Community Founded September 8, 1771

Mission San Gabriel, the fourth of the 21 California Missions and the start of the Catholic faith in the greater Los Angeles area, celebrates the 250th anniversary of its September 8, 1771 founding.

It has been a year of restoration and rebirth for this historic building following a devastating fire last July. But so much effort and so much support have allowed Mission San Gabriel to move closer to a full reopening.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Gómez presided over an outdoor prayer service, as the community came together with the mission church as its background. The service included, among others, members of the local Tongva community, descendants of those who worked tirelessly to build the impressive mission.

“I was especially moved by the broad community support by the City of San Gabriel and the multicultural participation in the celebration,” said CMF Chair Michael H. Imwalle after attending the service.

In his remarks, the Archbishop of this country’s largest Catholic diocese, praised the joint efforts that contributed to the building of the mission and surrounding area: “It’s amazing that before the United States of America was founded, and five years before the Declaration of Independence, Catholics and native peoples were working together right here,” Archbishop Gomez said. “They developed a diverse community based on worship, agricultural and the arts.”

A massive fundraising effort began immediately after the July 11 fire that destroyed the church roof and caused smoke and water damage to the reredos and sacristy, and the upper half of the church walls.

The Shiley Foundation made the first large donation, as the San Diego County organization stepped forward with a $100,000 matching grant to go toward offsetting the fire insurance deductible. The Dan Murphy Foundation soon matched the grant, and several others also joined the successful effort. Experts were brought in to assess the damage, the historic fabricate, and devise a plan for the mission’s restoration. In late August, the new permanent roof was finished, and the statues and artwork have been undergoing months of conservation. Work still remains, but the mission is moving closer to its full reopening.

California Missions Videos

Designed for you to enjoy during these times of limited contact and travel, please click the button below to view the videos. Videos copyrighted by Cultural Global Media (c. 2010). Music provided by our esteemed CMF member Dr. Craig Russell and vocal ensemble Chanticleer. All Rights Reserved.


The Mission Story

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CMF Marks 23 Years of Service

As we continue to commemorate the 250 anniversary of the founding of Alta California and the founding of the first five missions that occurred 1769-1772, the California Mission Foundation celebrates its own 23 year history anniversary and its work preserving and conserving the California Missions, Presidios and other related historic sites. Click the link below to read about a few of the hundreds of projects completed at more than 25 Missions, Presidios, and Asistenicias.

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California Missions Foundation

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Santa Barbara, CA 93121