Mission’s 225-Year celebration comes to A close

Ventura Breeze, Wednesday, April 09, 2008 

The San Buenaventura Mission held its final event last month commemorating 225 years since its founding. More than 600 people arrived in front of the mission to commemorate the day. Main Street was closed in front of the mission as Cardinal Roger Mahoney held a special Mass outdoors.

Organizers of this concluding event planned 20 months of events and celebrations which began in August 2006. According to organizers the events honored the mission for its extensive history, and showed off its diversity and ability to bring people to together.

Only one Mass was conducted that Sunday in an effort for all parishioners – both English-and Spanish-speaking – to be come together. A community picnic was also held after the service.

There were protesters on-hand who displayed signs prominently after the services finished. Protesters said they were present to let people know that there were thousands of graves buried under the Holy Cross School. The school, built in 1922, sits next to the mission.

Founded by Father Juniper Serra on Easter Sunday, Mar. 31, 1782, the mission was the last he established personally. Today, the church is an active parish in the Archdioceses of Los Angeles.

The mission is one of 21 missions established along California’s El Camino Real and represents the first arrival of non-Native Americans to California.

Starting in San Diego and dotting the coast past San Francisco, the missions were part of the Spanish’s quest to bring Christianity to what was to then the new world. In addition to Christianity, the missions brought many other things to California such as livestock, fruits, flowers, grains and industry. They also fundamentally changed Native American lives.

The San Buenaventura Mission, the ninth built in California is made of oak and pine beams and sun-dried mud. It took 17 years to construct and included a reservoir and aqueduct system which stretched seven miles. The mission was surrounded by orchards, vineyards and grain fields.

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