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Monica Orozco Appointed Old Mission Santa Barbara’s New Executive Director

Fr. David Gaa, OFM, provincial minister of Franciscan Friars Province of Santa Barbara, has announced the appointment of Santa Barbara native Monica Orozco, Ph.D., as the new executive director of Old Mission Santa Barbara, effective Aug. 1, 2016.

Orozco has served for the past seven years as director of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library in Santa Barbara.

“I am personally very pleased to make this announcement,” Gaa said. “It is the culmination of much effort on the part of many of my fellow Friars and of lay leaders in Santa Barbara, past and present.

“This appointment affirms the extraordinary contributions and effective leadership that Dr. Orozco has demonstrated consistently over time. She possesses the skills of a true professional, while at the same time approaching her work with a real Franciscan heart,” he said.

In response to her appointment, Dr. Orozco stated, “I am both excited to further our mission at the Old Mission, and yet at the same time grateful and humbled at the confidence that the Friars have shown in me. I am especially appreciative of the support of all the dedicated staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves.”

Orozco is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where she received her doctorate in Latin American history. Specializing in 19th century Mexico, she has placed her particular emphasis on the study of both Catholic and Protestant missionary movements among indigenous peoples there.

She is also an active member of Saint Barbara Parish at the Old Mission.

As part of her administrative responsibilities, Orozco will serve on the Old Mission’s executive leadership team, which consists of Fr. Adrian Peelo, OFM (pastor, Saint Santa Barbara Parish), Br. Regan Chapman, OFM (guardian, Franciscan fraternity at Old Mission Santa Barbara) and former Interim Executive Director Christina Sumpter.

In addition, Orozco will work closely with the various groups both at the Old Mission and in the extended Santa Barbara community to further Franciscan efforts in outreach and witness.

Founded in 1798, Old Mission Santa Barbara is only 1 of 21 historic California Missions established during the Spanish colonial era, which has been in continuous operation under the auspices of the Franciscan friars.

Centrally located, the 13-acre campus includes an active Franciscan friar community, Saint Barbara Parish, museum, Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library, cemetery/columbarium and gift shop.

Br. Regan Chapman, OFM, represents Old Mission Santa Barbara.

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