San Gabriel, USA. A fire early Saturday, July 11, 2020, destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of the 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission Church in California that was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th-anniversary celebration.
The interior wall of the church was redone a week ago. Crews had just finished installing the pews as part of a more extensive renovation of the property to mark the anniversary of the foundation of the mission. Unfortunately, the fire traversed the wood rapidly, and the interior is pretty much destroyed up into the altar area. The roof is completely gone, but the altar was saved through the firefighters’ aggressive stance. Fortunately, none of our brother Claretians is harmed. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The church was one of the missions established across California by St. Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., during the era of Spanish colonization. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was founded in 1771 and continues to serve as the cornerstone for the Catholic faith community in Los Angeles County. It is a richly diverse parish stewarded by the Claretian Missionaries since 1908.