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San Gabriel Mission Historic Cross Rises Again

An approximately 50-year-old historic cross taken and later returned to San Gabriel Mission on April 13, 2006, has risen again to its place atop the mission church building that a few weeks ago celebrated its 234th dedication of Feb. 21, 1805, announced mission Pastor Rev. Steve Niskanen, CMF.

Dozens of people attended the cross rededication ceremony on Saturday morning, March 7. The ceremony and prayer was led by Brother Heherson Balabbo, CMF, a pastoral intern at San Gabriel Mission.

The historic metal cross, a twin in age and yet a little different in design to the metal cross atop the mission’s Chapel of Annunciation church a few hundred feet north of the old mission church building, was believed to be installed about 1959 above the mission church doors facing east.  After the Oct. 1, 1987 earthquake closed the mission church for some cosmetic repairs and earthquake retrofitting, the cross was moved off of the church roof and stayed in its temporary place in the mission cemetery until it was taken.

A mission spokesperson said the old large metal cross was returned to the mission in
2006 after City of San Gabriel police were informed by a person about the cross, searched and retrieved the cross.

After its return, it was placed in San Gabriel Mission Museum for safe keeping until its current placement back atop the old mission church where it rose as a church symbol. The metal cross is approximately eight feet in height and five feet wide.

The return of the cross was followed the next day with the return of an old large approximately three-foot tall by four-foot wide framed photograph of the original entrance of San Gabriel Mission showed up outside an area fire station and was returned to San Gabriel Mission.  Only an approximately one and-a-half foot wide by three-foot tall painting of Jesus as a youth is missing from the mission.

The mission has added more security equipment and measures, said a spokesperson.

Participants prayed, led by Brother Heherson Balabbo, CMF of San Gabriel Mission, and mission Altar Server Elizabeth Lyons, as San Gabriel Mission historic cross was rededicated on March 7 at the 234-year-old church building.  Photo courtesy of San Gabriel Mission.

Participants prayed, led by Brother Heherson Balabbo, CMF of San Gabriel Mission, and mission Altar Server Elizabeth Lyons, as San Gabriel Mission historic cross was rededicated on March 7 at the 234-year-old church building. Photo courtesy of San Gabriel Mission.

Crowd prayed along with Brother Heherson Balabbo, CMF and Altar Server Elizabeth Lyons as San Gabriel Mission rededicated historic 50-year-old cross that was taken down for earthquake repairs to the building, taken, returned, restored and put back permanently on top of the 234-year-old church building.    Photo courtesy of San Gabriel Mission.

Crowd prayed along with Brother Heherson Balabbo, CMF and Altar Server Elizabeth Lyons as San Gabriel Mission rededicated historic 50-year-old cross that was taken down for earthquake repairs to the building, taken, returned, restored and put back permanently on top of the 234-year-old church building. Photo courtesy of San Gabriel Mission.

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