LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Parishioners of the San Gabriel Mission are holding Sunday mass a day after the historic 215-year-old building was ravaged by fire.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez even showed up for the 11 a.m. mass to help with the healing.READ MORE: 1 Killed, 2 Others Severely Injured In Separate Jefferson Park Hit-And-Run Crashes Over 2 Weeks
The Sunday services were being held in the Chapel, as opposed to inside the mission as has been the case since the start of the pandemic. The mission had been under renovations since March and was set to reopen next week.
But the fire Saturday ravaged the interior of the structure, destroying the pews and the wood, leaving only the altar untouched.
“I was baptized and married in this place,” said Luz Garcia, a parishioner. “I have so many memories coming here as a child. It just breaks my heart.”READ MORE: Orange County Deputies Open Fire Inside Foothill Ranch Walmart, Suspect Wounded
“This is a loved and cherished mission,” said another parishioner. “It is connected to the founding of Los Angeles. As a native Angeleno and all fellow Angelenos, we know that this is a treasure.”
Last month, crowds knocked down a statue of St. Junípero Serra in downtown Los Angeles and protested at other locations about public depictions of the missionary. As a precaution, the San Gabriel Mission removed its Serra statue shortly after the protests.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by firefighters and the ATF. They’ve also asked for help from the FBI. Right now, investigators say there were no obvious signs of arson.MORE NEWS: LA Councilman Seeks Funding To Crack Down On Street Racing In San Fernando Valley
Meanwhile, leaders are already taking steps to rebuild. A fire restoration fund has been set up for the church and is available on the San Gabriel Mission Catholic Church website.