The following comes from a November 21 Ventura County Star article by Megan Diskin:

The 300 or so people attending a special Mass on Saturday night were led to embrace a time of healing and love at Mission San Buenaventura as they celebrated the recent canonization of Junípero Serra.

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, head of the nation’s largest Catholic archdiocese, delivered the homily at the Ventura gathering.

In light of the controversy surrounding the Spanish Franciscan friar’s development of the missions in California in the 1700s, Gomez acknowledged that some of the missionaries used violence against Native Americans, but the archbishop declined to characterize Serra in such a manner.

The procession started at the Chumash Hutash Festival grounds near Palm Street and Thompson Boulevard after a blessing by Redstar, a Chumash who grew up in Ventura. The site was also the onetime site of San Miguel Chapel, Serra’s center of operations while the Ventura mission was being constructed.

At the front of the procession were men dressed to represent the soldiers of Lt. José Francisco de Ortega, who accompanied Serra to found Mission San Buenaventura in March 1782. Jim Elwell Martinez, who said he was a descendant of the lieutenant, was one of the men leading the march.

The soldiers fired their muskets to mark the start of the procession, which included priests from the 37 parishes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, all dressed in white robes. They sang in Latin as they walked in the procession.