Name of Church San Buenaventura Mission
Address 211 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001
Phone number 805-643-4318
Mass times Sunday 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. (Spanish) and 12:15 p.m. (Spanish). Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.
Confessions Fridays, 5 p.m.; Saturdays 4 p.m.
Names of priests Fr. Tom Elewaut, pastor; Fr. Damian Fernando, retired priest.
School Holy Cross School, located beside the Mission. Serves grades pre-K through 8. There is also a parish religious education program.
Special parish groups Eucharistic Adoration, Rosary Altar Society, Christian Service, Family to Family, Caregivers Care for Elderly, Parish Prayer Chain.
Music Depends on the Mass. Cantors, adult contemporary ensembles and Spanish choirs.
Fellow parishioners Largely two communities, an Anglo community and a Spanish-speaking community. The Spanish language Mass is celebrated in the church hall up the hill from the Mission because the facility accommodates a larger crowd.
Parking The Mission is located in downtown Ventura, so parking can be a challenge. Look for a place nearby on the street; there is also a parking structure a block away.
Cry room No cry room.
Additional observations Mission San Buenaventura is the 9th of the 21 California missions founded by Spanish Franciscan missionaries, and the last to be founded by Fr. Junipero Serra himself in 1782. Its purpose was to bring the Indians of the region to the Catholic faith, improving their standard of living in the process. It was named for 13th century Franciscan Saint Bonaventure, a Doctor of the Church. Work on the historic church began in 1792, and was completed in 1809. The main church seats about 365; there is also a small Serra Chapel within the church. The chapel is attractive and well-suited for prayer and the sacraments. Some of its artwork and lighting fixtures have undergone renovations. The grounds are beautiful. The mission has a colorful history. In 1812, the padres and Indian neophytes had to flee the mission temporarily because of a series of earthquakes and an accompanying tidal wave; the Mexican government seized control of the Mission in 1834 and eventually sold it to private parties. The Catholic Church regained control of the property in 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation declaring the Mexican government’s actions unjust and illegal. The historic church has undergone some alterations and restorations over the years, including replacement of its roof in 1976. The Old Mission is open to visitors daily, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.); the basic tour cost is $5. There is also a gift shop on the grounds. Enter through the gift shop (address 225 East Main Street). Take a tour of the mission here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ZvcQwsZBo.
The Ventura mission made the news in June 2020 when a mob attempted to pull down a statue of Fr. Junipero Serra nearby the mission on public grounds; but rosary-praying Catholics successfully surrounded and saved the statue. The Ventura City Council, however, in July voted 6-0 to remove it and another statue of Serra on public land—with one relocated to the mission—and remove a prominent image of Serra from the County of Ventura seal as well.
“The Mexican government seized control of the Mission in 1834 and eventually sold it to private parties. The Catholic Church regained control of the property in 1862, ‘after President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation declaring the Mexican government’s actions unjust and illegal.'”
Catholics, please take note.
What note should one take? My limited Mexican history reminds me the 1830s were just after Mexican independence from Spain. Secular forces were against the ‘evils’ of the former Spanish rulers.
In the present day, my wife and I have seen all the Missions. Took four or five trips. Well worth it. Learn a lot of early Calif history.
Read the comments on this California Catholic post to learn how Fr. Elewaut expelled the Latin Mass from San Juan Buenaventura Mission on Epiphany Sunday 2013.