Name of Church Mission San Miguel

Address 775 Mission Street, San Miguel, CA 93451

Phone number 805-467-2131


Mass times Saturday vigil, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Spanish)  Sundays, 7 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. (Spanish).  Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. 

Confessions Saturdays, 4 p.m.

Names of priests Fr. Eleazar Diaz

School No school, but the parish offers religious education classes.

Music Weekend masses have cantors and choirs, piano.  The noon Mass has the most extensive music program.  Stroll the grounds and you can enjoy Gregorian chant played over speakers.

Fellow parishioners Majority Anglo, with a significant Hispanic population.

Special activities Prayer groups, youth groups, education classes, Knights of Columbus, prison ministry; additionally, there are many special events to raise funds for mission preservation.  Sunday 5 p.m. rosary in Spanish, Wednesday 6:30 p.m. Spanish prayer.

Parking Ample parking.  The mission is visible from the 101 freeway, take the Mission Street exit.

Acoustics  Fine.  Good sound system.

Additional observations  San Miguel is a small town in Central California and is part of San Luis Obispo County.  Mission San Miguel was founded by Spanish Franciscan priest Fr. Fermin Lasuen in 1797.  Its purpose was to share the Catholic religion with the Salinan Indians in the area and teach them the skills they needed to improve their standard of living.  San Miguel’s old adobe church was built during the period of 1816-21; its interior frescos were designed by artist Esteban Munras.  San Miguel and the other California missions were seized by the Mexican government (“secularized”) in 1834.  The mission was returned to the Church after California became a state of the United States in 1850, and was used as a parish church. 

Mission San Miguel’s history includes the most appalling mass murder ever committed on the grounds of a California mission.  In 1848, the mission was the residence of William Reed and his family.  It was the start of the Gold Rush, and Reed bragged he had struck it rich.  Six men came to the mission to steal his gold.  An orgy of killing began when one of the killers struck Reed from behind with an axe (you can still see the fireplace in front of which he was murdered).  They went on to kill the rest of Reed’s family and his servants, including an Indian boy who begged for his life.  A total of 11 died.  No gold was discovered.  A posse caught up with five of the killers, two were killed in a shootout and three captured and later executed.  The 6th was never found.

The Franciscan Friars returned to the parish in 1928, and the facility was used as a parish, novitiate training school and center for retreats and meetings.  A 2003 earthquake severely damaged the mission’s historic structures, and it was closed to the public.  The Diocese of Monterey considered closing the mission permanently, but instead agreed to raise $15 million for repairs and to reopen the mission.  It partially re-opened in 2006, and the church itself was reopened in 2009.  In 2011, the mission’s retreat and meeting center reopened.  The restoration process continues as does fundraising (in fact, with all the California missions, fundraising and restoration is always ongoing).   The mission website has information on fundraising efforts.  The mission’s historic church is open daily 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; the gift shop is open daily 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  You can take a self-guided tour of the museum daily 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  If you’re coming with a group and want a tour, call ahead and see if you can get a tour with a volunteer docent or the mission curator.  Donations are welcome when you visit.