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July 8, 2011 > Mission's real name

Mission's real name

I read about the two men who are making a pilgrimage to all the missions in California with interest. I am writing to correct the name of the mission as it appears in the story (TCV July 5, 2011).

Fremont's mission was founded by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen in 1797 and given the formal name of "La Mision del Gloriosisimo Patriarca Senor San Jose." Translated, the name is "The Mission of the Most Glorious Patriarch Lord Saint Joseph."

Thus the full name of our local mission is not Mission San Jose de Guadalupe. The Pueblo of San Jose was located near the Guadalupe River. Early writers may have confused the location of the mission with the pueblo (city) and began adding "de Guadalupe" to the name.

After Father William Abeloe, an expert on California mission history, was installed as pastor of St. Joseph Parish on June 11, 1977, he removed the sign "Mission San Jose de Guadalupe" from in front of the mission museum. He then began an intensive campaign to remove "de Guadalupe" from the mission name because, he said, it was never officially part of the mission's name.

Since Father Abeloe's death in 1982, Dolores Ferenz, executive administrator of the mission museum, has continued the campaign. Even after 34 years "de Guadalupe" still gets attached to the Mission San Jose name, often because people use books and reference materials that have the incorrect name.

The people of Fremont should be proud of Mission San Jose, the 14th in the Alta California chain of 21 missions and the only one in Alameda County.

Lila Bringhurst

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