Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

San Gabriel Mission’s Fiesta


Tongva Chief Anthony Morales summoned the residents of the San Gabriel Valley to the San Gabriel Mission’s 240th Fiesta on the weekend of September 2 – 4 by ringing the famous mission bells.


Members of the Royal Court: Krystal Gil, Melanie Ramirez and Claudia Gonzalez rang the mission bells to mark this special event.


Father Stephen Niskanen, Father Quyen Nguyen and Father Theo Fuentes were joined by Chief Morales and his son, Andy Morales in blessing the celebration.

Father Niskanen welcomed all to the fiesta. The theme this year is “God, Family, Friends and Fun”. He gave the audience a brief history of the missions. He called it the first Christian community in the Los Angeles area.

Father Fuentes greeted the audience in Spanish and Father Nguyen greeted the audience in Vietnamese.

Father Niskanen asked God’s blessing on the fiesta and all of the volunteers. “ Enjoy the fiesta”.

Chief Morales and his son blessed the fiesta with White Sage smoke and prayed in their native language. They sang a welcome song in memory of their ancestors who helped to build this mission.

The priests blessed the grounds and the fiesta began with international food booths, a beer and wine garden, carnival rides, games and live entertainment.


The Royal Court: Princess Melanie Ramirez, Queen Krystal Gil and Princess Claudia Gonzalez proudly wear an emblem for chastity and purity on their cloaks.



Their theme “True Love Waits” is supported by LAPS on 7th Street in Los Angeles.  The young ladies provided wristbands to remind young men and women that chastity and purity are their gifts to give to their spouse on their wedding night.

The Kids and Pets Costume Contest is a very special event of the fiesta.

Father Fuentes blessed the event. The Royal Court and their escorts helped in the raffle and handed out the awards to all of the winners.


Bernardo Rios and Melinda Gonzales were the winners of the Indian dress contest.


Lalia Pelliccino won in the Spanish dress contest.


Hortencia Mivanda and Josue G. Gutierrez were the winners of the Mexican dress contest.


Gianna Gil and Jake Skyker won for having the most creative costumes.


Chip the dog won the largest pet award.


Dorothy and Seymour the goldfish won the smallest pet award.


Max the lizard won the most unique pet award.

The Blessing of the Animals is another very special event when residents bring their family pets to be blessed.

Father Tony Diaz reminded everyone that the animals are gifts from God. We are stewards of all living things and our pets are our friends who love us forever.  He asked God to protect them and their owners. The animals bring love and comfort to all.


Father Diaz blessed all of the dogs, birds, goldfish, turtles and lizards with their humans in the audience.

The fiesta also featured re-enactors in the gardens.


Bruce Buonauro is our local Father Junipero Sierra. He provided guests with mission history and lore.


Jeanne Duebbert is our resident wool spinner. She was spinning yarn from real sheep. She provided guests with a chance to see how yarn was made in the old days.


Klaus Duebbert is our resident blacksmith who built this carreta that was pulled by oxen.  He put it together with wood dowels in keeping with the building materials of the day. The carreta is available for public viewing in the mission gardens.


Matt Lovio displayed many rattles, hand clappers, flutes and religious artifacts that members of the Tongva tribe still use today. He answered many questions from the guests.


David Ando, Steve Romero and Jon Reed wore Mexican and United States military uniforms from the 1840’s, which was the time of the Spanish-American War.


Kathleen Rabago dressed in the Spanish style of the day.

Chuck Lyons welcomed everyone to the History Awards ceremony. This is a special event. The Tongva have lived in the San Gabriel Valley for the last 8,000 to 10,000 years. The tribe has a cultural center in El Monte that teaches young people about their ancestors. He thanked the Tongva for supporting the mission.

He introduced several of the docents and former award recipients to the audience. The History Award Winners for 2011 are people who quietly do good deeds and show their leadership.


Russ Hart accepted his award from Chuck Lyons.


Eric Mendoza proudly displayed his award.

Mr. Lyons reminded the guests that they need to share their life histories with younger family members so their family history will not be lost. We need to keep the youth involved in our culture.

He introduced Klaus Duebbert as the blacksmith that repaired the 1800’s 600-pound cannon on the mission grounds. He also built the corretta in the 1771 style. He praised Mr. Duebbert for repairing many of the old iron fences in the gardens.

Klaus Duebbert reminded the audience that it is very important to preserve the artifacts of our past for the future. He restores old cars, equipment and historical items. He would like to recreate the grounds to reflect the old mission. History was hands on as people created their own clothing, food and building materials. They had carpenters, tile makers and iron forgers. He helps with the upkeep at the mission. It is important to keep things restored for all to have a greater feeling of history. It is mankind’s inheritance to keep it preserved.

Mr. Lyons thanked everyone for coming.


The Royal Court and their escorts celebrated the 240th birthday of the Mission with birthday cake for all.

This fiesta is the major fundraiser for the San Gabriel Mission, which is opened to the public. The mission is located at 427 S. Junipero Serre Drive in San Gabriel California.  For information to visit the mission please call 626-457-3035. Their E-mail address: www.sangabrielmission.net

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