The tragedy of the recent fire should not blind us to the fact that the Holy Sacrifice of Mass may well be offered and the prayers of Our Lady recited at San Gabriel long after the surrounding country is returned to the same wild state at which St. Junípero Serra arrived long before the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence was composed. [14] Depictions of Serra have been protested and vandalized over the years, and Pope Francis’ decision in 2015 to elevate him to sainthood reopened old wounds. “We were trying to fight it from the inside. In converting Native Americans to Catholicism, they said he forced them to abandon their culture or face brutal punishment. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris is more iconic, of course, and more impressive architecturally speaking. Selena Quezada, 26, was in tears when she drove to the mission after she heard about the fire. We weren’t able to because it became unsafe,” he said. SAN GABRIEL, Calif. – A fire early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a Catholic church in California that was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration. Serious restorative work was already underway at the mission before the fire, and it would be nice to think that the funds now being raised to support it across the country would have been forthcoming even if there were not widespread suspicions of arson. The firefighters’ aggressive stance and “a little bit of a miracle” kept the flames from reaching the altar, she said. San Gabriel was, after all, founded by St. Junípero Serra, the Franciscan missionary frequently styled the "Apostle of California" who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2013. The missions remind us that American history — which, in the sense of there being such a country as the United States, they transcend — is a far stranger and more varied thing than most of us like to imagine, a vestige of a land that was once neither white nor Anglo-Saxon nor, especially, Protestant. Copyright © 2004–2020 Yelp Inc. Yelp, , and related marks are registered trademarks of Yelp. Our Mission Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was founded in 1771 and continues to serve as the cornerstone for the Catholic faith community in Los Angeles County. The church was the fourth of a string of missions established across California by Serra during the era of Spanish colonization. But it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that San Gabriel and the other great Spanish missions are as important to the history of California as Notre Dame is to the history of France. Claim your business to immediately update business information, respond to reviews, and more! “It’s just really sad to see such a historic place burned down because this place means a lot to us.”. She said she grew up in the parish and attended the elementary school on the church’s grounds. “This will be another box that they’re going to check off,” Negrete said. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Options dwindle for voters diagnosed with Covid-19, This Beloved Coffee Chain Just Closed 687 Locations For Good, The tragedy of the San Gabriel Mission fire. The church had been preparing to reopen next weekend following a four-month closure to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Firefighters entered the church and tried to beat back the flames, but they had to retreat when roofing and other structural materials began to fall, Negrete said. All of this comes amid the backdrop of stories of Catholic statues and landmarks being vandalized, which have become increasingly commonplace while attracting virtually no attention from the mainstream secular media. Fire alarms at the San Gabriel Mission rang around 4 a.m. The Franciscan priest has long been praised by the church for bringing Roman Catholicism to what is now the western United States, but critics highlight a darker side to his legacy. “The fire traversed the wood rapidly. Paul Negrete said. Instead of rage, we should respond to hatred with love, secure in our belief that the gates of hell will not ultimately prevail against the Church founded by Christ upon St. Peter. San Gabriel was, after all, founded by St. Junípero Serra, the Franciscan missionary frequently styled the "Apostle of California" who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2013. Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, tweeted that he was “deeply troubled” by the fire as he awaits further information about its cause. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's. As historian Thomas Babington Macaulay put it in his famous essay on Ranke's History of the Popes: [The Catholic Church] saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. More: Notre Dame forecourt opens to public for first time since devastating fire, “The roof is completely gone,” the captain said. © San Gabriel Mission 428 S. Mission Drive San Gabriel, CA 91776 Phone: (626) 457-3035 Fax: (626) 282-5308 Franciscan fathers replaced the ceiling with a wood-paneled ceiling, and the roof was last repaired following damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, she said. The adobe museum building was built in 1812 and was originally used for sleeping quarters and book storage. As I write this the cause of the fire remains under investigation. For absurd reasons that betray ignorance of history and of this great saint's own virtuous conduct in particular, mobs have toppled or otherwise desecrated statues of Serra throughout California in recent weeks. The interior is pretty much destroyed up into the altar area.”. This is not meant to sound pollyannish. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. Police increased patrol and officials stepped security around the mission’s grounds about two weeks ago, she said. Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here. More recently, protests focusing on the rights and historical struggle of Black and Indigenous people led activists to topple statues of Serra in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles. Among other things it would serve as a reminder to Catholics in the United States that our history should be cherished regardless of whether it is under attack. This work will be possible in part thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars in small donations, a great deal of it raised in the United States, where news of the fire was the occasion of widespread grief. The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is a fully functioning Roman Catholic mission and a historic landmark in San Gabriel, California. Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? .css-1o5pw2t{width:24px;height:24px;display:inline-block;vertical-align:middle;position:relative;overflow:hidden;top:-0.1em;fill:rgba(187,186,192,1);}.css-1o5pw2t::before{position:absolute;display:block;left:0;}.css-1o5pw2t::after{content:'';display:block;position:absolute;left:0;right:0;top:0;bottom:0;}.css-1o5pw2t svg{position:absolute;width:100%;height:100%;fill:inherit;display:block;left:0;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;}.css-1o5pw2t:hover,.css-1o5pw2t:focus{fill:rgba(117,114,128,1);}. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. I hope (if that verb can be properly applied to anything involving the destruction of Church property) that last week's fire in San Gabriel proves to be an unfortunate accident. After evacuating the church, the crew was joined by up to 50 firefighters who tried to douse water on the 50-foot-high structure from ladder trucks, he said. SAN GABRIEL, Calif. – A fire early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a Catholic church in California that was undergoing … On the same day as the blaze at San Gabriel, a church in Florida was set on fire while parishioners were inside awaiting the start of Mass, an act of anti-Catholic terrorism worthy of the worst days of the 19th century. We are a richly diverse parish stewarded by the Claretian Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and called to respond to the needs of our community through love, justice and peace. The survival of the Church against all odds is not only a promise of our religion; it has been widely predicted even by thinkers and historians fundamentally at odds with her. Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here. Such generosity should be a cause for rejoicing. Crews had just finished installing the pews as part of a larger renovation of the property to mark the anniversary of the founding of the mission in 1771, Huerta said.