The effort to rebuild Mission San Gabriel got an early Christmas gift in the form of a $25,000 check from the Serra Club, a worldwide organization of Catholics dedicated to promoting and protecting religious vocations.

Presented to Archbishop José H. Gomez on Dec. 16, 2020, the donation was made possible thanks to a fundraising effort by the group’s San Buenaventura chapter that quickly went global, drawing gifts from chapters in other parts of the U.S. and in five other countries. 

Serra Club Pacific regional director Ed Lupton, LA District governor Pat Livingston, and Serra Foundation board member Pat Manzo met with Archbishop Gomez and the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Fr. Sam Ward, at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in Koreatown to present the check. The Serra Foundation estimates the full donation amount to be around $29,000, with funds still arriving. 

The church’s 230-year-old roof was almost completely destroyed in a mysterious fire over the summer, and several pews and interior walls were damaged. Archdiocesan officials hope that the church’s reconstruction, which includes removing and replacing the burned roof, will be completed in time for the 250th anniversary of the mission’s founding this September.  

The inside of the San Gabriel Mission church after an early morning fire destroyed the 249-year-old church's roof Saturday, July 11. (John McCoy/Angelus News)

Spectra Co., the company handling the restoration, expects to have a new roof completed by the end of August 2021. 

The Serra Club is a worldwide organization of lay Catholics dedicated to promoting and increased vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The organization’s local chapter has had a close relationship with the LA Archdiocese, organizing the “Ordinati Luncheon” for its newly ordained priests each year and sponsoring an “adopt-a-seminarian program.”

“They’ve always been like our cheerleaders,” said Fr. Ward of the club in a 2019 interview with Angelus.