Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 9:13 pm | Light Rain 55º


Mission Banner Honors Father Virgil Cordano, ‘Pastor of Santa Barbara’

In conjunction with the Memorial Day weekend and the XXVIIth annual celebration of the I Madonnari arts festival, a commemorative portrait banner in honor of Franciscan Father Virgil Cordano, the unofficial “pastor of Santa Barbara,” will hang from the tower of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Father Virgil (1918-2008), a well-known and universally respected figure in Santa Barbara.

His commitments encompassed more than 50 years of service both as pastor of St. Barbara Parish and as a community leader involved in activities ranging from the Red Cross to Marymount School, the Santa Barbara Historical Society, as well as the I Madonnari arts festival taking place at the steps of the Old Mission this weekend.

From the early 1960s, he served as the perennially ebullient host and emcee for the city’s annual La Fiesta Pequena celebrations each August.

“Father Virgil has left an indelible mark on the life and history of Santa Barbara,” said Father Charles Talley, recently installed pastor of St. Barbara Parish at the Old Mission. “And as a pastor, believe me, he has left a pair of awfully big sandals to fill.”

Talley noted that Father Virgil’s name and legacy have not faded with the years.

“I am constantly meeting people from all ages, and of every walk of life and spiritual path who tell me how they have been touched by this remarkable man’s openness and approachability,” Talley said.

The commemorative banner will remain in place over the weekend, and Father Virgil’s name will be included in services at the Mission along those of others honored this Memorial Day holiday.

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