San Buenaventura Mission, based in Ventura, California, is an active Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was founded by the famed Franciscan priest Junipero Serra, in 1782. The mission was planned to be the third in a series of 21 Christian outposts to be founded by Serra, but the mission became the ninth and final founded by the revered figure. It also is one of six personally dedicated by him.
The cross for San Buenaventura Mission was raised in March 1782. Following a High Mass, the mission was dedicated to St. Bonaventure.
The missionís original church is believed to have been destroyed in a fire. The construction of the present-day church began in 1792. Following a temporary halt in 1795, the church was finally completed in 1809.
In 1834, in a decree passed by the Mexican government, the padres (fathers) were divested of their administrative control over the mission. Following the California's inclusion as a state, the control of the mission and its premises were returned to the padres, in a proclamation passed by President Abraham Lincoln on May 23, 1862.
Since its establishment, the mission has undergone numerous renovations and repairs. The original tile roof was replaced with a shingle roof following an earthquake in 1857. Other modifications include lengthening the windows, and removing the quadrangle wall surrounding the premises. The west-side sacristy was removed for construction of a school in 1921. The elongated windows were restored to their original size in 1956-1957. An automated angelus device was installed in the bell tower.
The San Buenaventura Mission celebrated its bicentennial anniversary in 1982. The mission currently includes a gift shop and museum. The mission runs a childrenís religious education program for students from kindergarten through eighth grade. There is a process for high school youth that prepares candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Adults wishing to enter the Catholic Church can enroll in the missionís process of Christian Initiation.
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