Mission Basilica San Buenaventura installs new lighting and sound systems

The lighting project was envisioned five years ago.

by Fr. Tom Elewaut

With gratitude to our parishioners who continue to support our Called to Renew capital campaign, the Basilica lighting is now a reality! As Lent began, an extensive new lighting upgrade that highlights the sacred art and liturgical appointments for parishioners, pilgrims, and tourists is completed. The state-of-the-art lighting system replaces a 1980s era system with LED energy efficient theatrical enhancements that create a spirituality uplifting appreciation of the sacred paintings, statues, and tapestry, some of which predate the completion of the 1809 church. Each appointment is separately illuminated with sufficient congregational lighting.

A new sound system was installed as well. The new speakers offer clearer fidelity for both proclamation of the Word, and the liturgy of the Eucharist and the uplifting voices of the cantors and musicians. This project was gifted by Bill Simon, Jr. and parishioner donations to our building fund.

The lighting project was envisioned five years ago and is the second major project funded by the capital campaign by parishioners. The first campaign project remodeled restrooms in the garden utilized by parishioners and guests visiting the historic downtown Mission. Additionally, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles funded the exterior painting of the rectory, the Gift Shop building, wood flooring refinished in the rectory and a new roof on the Gift Shop building.

In June 2020 Pope Francis elevated Mission San Buenaventura to a minor basilica in the Catholic church, becoming the seventh Minor Basilica in California. The new lighting is befitting a basilica and now highlights the oil paintings of the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) painted in New Spain approximately forty years prior to the completion of the present church. Statues of patron San Buenaventura, St. Mary, and St. Joseph behind the main altar are strikingly visible as is the tabernacle, altar, and ambo (pulpit) among several other statues and a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many of the eighteenth-century statues have been restored in the past decade by the South Coast Fine Arts Conservancy funded by the California Missions Foundation and the Nicholas and Margaret Carlozzi Charitable Foundation and private donors.

The seven-week lighting installation project was engineered by John Maloney, P.E., designed by Mar-Vista Lighting and Chauvet Professional, and installed by Taft Electric.

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