Pope Francis has elevated a California mission church founded by St. Junipero Serra to the rank of minor basilica. The San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura was granted the title by the pope in an announcement from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Wednesday, the feast of St. Bonaventure.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced the mission’s new status on July 15, before celebrating daily Mass at the mission garden, together with Los Angeles auxiliary Bishop Bobert Barron, and the mission’s pastor. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mass was celebrated outdoors and livestreamed.
“When the Pope designates a basilica, it means this is holy ground,” Gomez said.
“Something beautiful and important in the history of salvation happened here. A basilica is a place where the mercy of God has been proclaimed in the name of Jesus Christ. It is a place where sinners have been saved and saints have been made, and the Kingdom of God has moved forward.”
The designation is granted to churches around the world in recognition of their special pastoral and liturgical significance in Catholic life, and their closeness to the pope. The San Buenaventura Mission remains an active parish of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, serving approximately 1,400 families. It is the 88th U.S. church to receive the title, and the first in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
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