July 11, 2020  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

The historic church at the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel caught fire in the early morning of Saturday, July 11. Archbishop José H. Gomez visited the site of the fire today and offered prayers for the San Gabriel Mission community of faith. Archbishop Gomez wrote a letter to the community of faith to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles about the tragedy (letter is attached*). 

“It is terribly sad. Thanks be to God, nobody was hurt. But the damage is extensive — the roof is destroyed and much of the old church is ruined,” wrote Archbishop Gomez in the letter. “Thankfully, the historic paintings, the Stations of the Cross, and other artifacts had been removed from the sanctuary as part of the renovations being done to prepare for the mission’s 250th anniversary next year.”

“It was families from this mission, who in turn founded Los Angeles ten years later, on September 4, 1781, walking nine miles west from the mission, crossing the Los Angeles River, and establishing El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula, named for the little chapel where St. Francis of Assisi first heard the call of Jesus Christ,” explained the Archbishop in the letter.

The church was slated to reopen to the public on July 18, 2020, as it had suspended Masses due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March during which time the church had undergone renovations to the interior. The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel had planned for a number of renovations and improvements leading up to its 250th anniversary in September 2021.  

“To this day, the parish at San Gabriel Mission continues to be a shining expression of the beautiful diversity that God intends for his human family,” said Archbishop Gomez.“So, join me please in praying in this sad moment for our brothers and sisters at Mission San Gabriel. May they know the comfort and consolation of our loving Father and the solidarity and care of the entire family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

Those wishing to support the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in restoring the church, may make donations by visiting https://lacatholics.org/restoration/.

For additional information please visit: https://angelusnews.com/local/la-catholics/san-gabriel-mission-church-heavily-damaged-in-overnight-fire/.


*Note to editors: Spanish translation of the letter is available upon request*