Established: 1902Location: 1109 Coronel Street, San FernandoSan Fernando Region: Deanery 7Not only a parish and the 17th California mission, but an entire valley and a city are named for St. Ferdinand III of Castile, Spain, who fought against the Islamic invaders, had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin and founded the University of Salamanca. He also established hospitals, churches, monasteries and cathedrals in the 13th century. Buried in the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis, his remains were preserved in the Cathedral of Seville, after which many miracles followed. Pope Clement X canonized Ferdinand in 1671; his feast day is May 30. The region that bears his name has endured significant earthquakes, beginning with the Wrightwood quake of 1812 — 15 years after Mission San Fernando Rey de Espa√±a was founded — which damaged five of the local Missions (Santa Barbara suffered severe damage, San Fernando far less). More recently, the 1971 Sylmar quake killed 65 and left $500 million in damages, while the 1994 Northridge quake killed 60, injured 7,000 and left 20,000 homeless.The San Fernando parish that has survived these quakes was founded in 1902 under the authority of Bishop George Montgomery, the first American-born bishop for California. He established six parishes during his term (1896-1903), from the San Fernando Valley to Santa Catalina Island and witnessed the population of L.A. expand to over 100,000, before he was named archbishop of San Francisco in 1903. Prior to its founding, local residents used a small chapel for worship and waited for clergy from L.A. and San Gabriel to conduct services. A 1927 Tidings story about “Christianity in the Valley” stated that the founding pastor, Father James E. Burns. built a frame church on Pico Street, about two miles from the Mission. Father A. LeBelleguy succeeded him and bought property for the church in Newhall. After Father James O’Neil was pastor for a year, Bishop Thomas Conaty in 1908 assigned the Claretian Fathers (Missionary Sons of the Heart of Mary) to take care of the parish and Father Felix Zumarraga was appointed pastor.However, hard times in the country forced the Claretians to withdraw after four years and return to San Gabriel Mission. Diocesan clergy were in charge by 1912 when Father Gerard Bergan was named pastor. He bought a residence on South Brand Boulevard and built a small frame church in Newhall. He retired in 1918 and Father J. B. Roure then served until 1922. The community now experienced the rise of a mixed population as many Mexicans came to the area following the Mexican revolution and the Cristero wars. Bishop John Cantwell asked the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to take charge. The Oblates — a missionary congregation founded in 1816, who serve in various posts throughout the world — had had similar experiences in Texas since 1848. Father Charles Siemes was the first Oblate pastor. By 1925 a rectory was built on Coronel Street, followed by the first parish school and convent in 1929. (Today, the Oblates also administer nearby Mary Immaculate in Pacoima and Santa Rosa in San Fernando in a unique tri-parish collaboration.)The next extant record lists Father Charles Burns, from Texas, as pastor from 1938 to 1944. During that financially-challenged period of World War II, he was still able to restore San Fernando Mission. Later named the first Western Provincial for the order, he died in 1990 at age 83. Cardinal James Francis McIntyre dedicated St. Ferdinand’s new church in 1949 on the site selected by the pastor, Father John J. O’Connell, at Pico and Maclay Streets. Among the 12 Oblate pastors since that time, Father William McHugh supervised the aid needed from the 1971 Sylmar quake that damaged the church tower, while Father Scott Hill led the parish during the 1994 Northridge tremor.The current pastor, Father Thomas Coughlin, from Buffalo, ordained in 1970, continues the tradition of the Oblate presence at St. Ferdinand, just as its nearly 3,000 registered families continue the tradition of service and devotion embodied in its patron saint-king.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1011/ferdinandside/{/gallery}