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Gerald Carpenter: Mission Santa Barbara Marks Its History

Saturday evening's Candlelight Celebration will be held in honor of Saint Barbara

This Saturday, Dec. 4, is the Feast Day of Saint Barbara, and the Franciscan friars of the Mission Santa Barbara are putting on a Candlelight Celebration in her honor, and as a signal event to launch a year of observances celebrating the 225th year of the Mission’s colorful and useful existence.

The Mission was founded by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen on Dec. 4, 1786 — a year before the U.S. Constitution was ratified — and, unlike many of the California mission churches, which fell into disuse after the missions themselves were secularized by the Mexican government, ours still functions as a church.

The Mission was returned to the Franciscans in 1843, but the last Mexican governor confiscated all the Mission lands in 1846 and sold the Mission. California became part of the United States in 1848, and in 1865, the Mission was returned to the Catholic Church by President Abraham Lincoln (his feast day is Feb. 12).

A lovely and unique old church, the Mission will host an evening of stories, dances, songs and refreshments — all by romantic candlelight. It certainly sounds like a dreamy sort of evening to me. And it is all free, including a museum tour. This is also an ecumenical evening, with the only faith required being that of good faith.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the celebration will start at 6 p.m. It is best to remember, however, that the church is relatively small, and seating is limited. It might be best to arrive early.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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