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

Good Friday Rededication

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The newly repaired cross in the San Gabriel Mission gardens was unveiled on Good Friday, April 6 with 100 parishioners and guests in attendance on a beautiful sunny day.

The original cross was dedicated seventy-seven years ago after a memorial to more than 5,700 Gabrielino Tongva Indians, Catholic priests, religions brothers and other people buried in the oldest “modern-era” cemetery in Los Angeles County.

The cross dedicated in 1935 was destroyed in the December 1, 2011 wind storm which broke off two large branches about ten feet above the ground and approximately 70-foot tall tree branches crashed and broke off the arms of a life size crucifix of Jesus Christ on a 16-foot tall cross. The wood cross was damaged beyond repair and the statue of John the Beloved was knocked over and damaged. This statue will be repaired in the near future.  The status of Mary was slightly moved by the tree branches but not damaged by the storm.

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Father Steve Niskanen, Andrew Morales, Chief Anthony Morales, Matthew Lovio were joined by members of the tribe to celebrate this special Good Friday service.

Al Sanchez, the business manager, welcome every one to this rededication ceremony. We are blessed to have so many people respond to our request for help to repair the damages caused by the windstorm.  He thanked them for their donations and repairing the cross.

Ralph Mohutsky, music director, sang several songs during the service.

Father Niskanen greeted everyone on this beautiful day the good Lord has given to us. We are rededicating this cross on Good Friday. He offered His life for the whole world. We celebrate life and love over death. He spoke about the Tongva people and the priests and brothers who served this mission. They are our friends and family. Life is like a grain of wheat that must die to produce fruit. He blessed the cross.

TeriLee Holm, the artist, remembers the cross as a kid. It was a landmark for her on her way to grandma’s house. She is one of the artists who were able to recreate the cross for another 100,000 people to see.

Chief Morales welcomed all in English and his native tongue. It is an honor to be here today to rededicate this cross. Members of the tribe are here today. He is thankful that the tribe can visit the mission to sing and dance to honor their ancestors.

Andrew Morales burnt sage and prayed in the Tongva language. They prayed for their ancestors.

Andrew Morales, Chief Anthony Morales and Matthew Lovio sang and danced in memory of their loved ones.

Chief Morales thanked all for their participation in the memory of our ancestors.

Mr. Sanchez thanked everyone for coming to this special event.

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The cross was built and erected by Evan Chapman and Shane Chapman.  TeriLee Holm, Tom Trefethen and Tina Trefethen repaired the shattered metal crucifix. It took them 150 hours to reconstruct the figure of Jesus Christ in historical detail.

The new statue and cross is located in the gardens of the San Gabriel Mission for all to see and enjoy.

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