San Buenaventura

San Buenaventura Mission

San Buenaventura was founded on March 31, 1782. Mission San Buenaventura became a parish church after it was secularized in 1836. The high altar and its reredos date to 1818.  Mission Buenaventura has a well-landscaped garden, informative displays and a small, inviting museum. 

Facts About This Mission

General Information

San Buenaventura

Founded:
March 31, 1782
Current Status:
Active Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Summary:
San Buenaventura was founded on March 31, 1782. Mission San Buenaventura became a parish church after it was secularized in 1836. The high altar and its reredos date to 1818.  Mission Buenaventura has a well-landscaped garden, informative displays and a small, inviting museum. 

Visitor Information

Address

211 E Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
United States

Get Directions
Phone
  • 805-643-4318 (Parish)
  • 805-648-4496 (Gift shop)
Hours
Fees
  • Children under 18: $1.00
  • Senior (65+): $3.00
  • Adults: $4.00
  • Family (adults with children): $10.00
  • School Groups: There is a special group admission charge that varies with the size of the group, from $10.00 for groups of 5-10 to $30.00 for groups of 16 or more.
Tours

Guided tours with experienced docents are available during the school year. Tours must be scheduled. Call 805-648-4494.

Self-guided tours begin at the gift shop.

Church Services

Weekdays: 

  • 7:30 a.m. (Except Tuesday:  8:15 a.m. during the school year, which is September - June).

Saturday/Sábado:

  • 7:30 a.m.
  • 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass (English)
  • 7:30 p.m. Vigilia (Español)

Sunday/Domingo: 

  • 7:30 a.m. (English)
  • 9:00 a.m. (English)
  • 10:30 a.m (Español in O'Brien Hall)
  • 2:00 p.m. (English)

See the mission website for a detailed schedule of Mass and special services during Advent, Christmas, Easter Week, etc.

Weddings and Other Special Services

The church invites parishioners and couples from outside Ventura to be married at the mission (at least one of the parties needs to be a practicing Catholic). Twelve pages of instructions are available for download on the official mission site.

San Buenaventura has a wedding coordinator, María Gómes, whose phone is (805) 652-0633 and her email address is mariaramosgomes@gmail.com

O’Brien Hall is available for wedding receptions (seats 300).

Special Events

May Pilgrimage Procession from the Mission gardens up to the Cross at Grant Park. First Saturday in May (leave at 7:30 a.m.) Outdoor Mass is celebrated at the Cross. The site offers a spectacular view of Ventura and the coastline. Following Mass, refreshments are served compliments of the Guadalupana Society.

San Buenaventura Feast Day on July 15. Mass followed by a special reception in the mission garden if it is a weekend.

Unique Attractions

San Buenaventura was never abandoned or closed. It became a parish church after the missions were secularized and it has a long history as a religious destination. This mission offers a special experience for Catholics, particularly during one of the special religious events.

Main altar at San Buenaventura The high altar and its reredos originated in Mexico and were installed when the church was dedicated in 1809. The Shrine of the Crucifixion on the left side of the church contains a four-hundred-year-old bulto.

Fountain and side entrance of Mission San Buenaventura There is a picturesque side entrance to the church. 

San Buenaventura outdoor grotto This mission is known for its well-tendered gardens. There is a grotto and several exterior displays in the courtyard. 

Olive Press A large display on the mission tour is a mission-era olive press.

The Santa Buenaventura museum (built in 1929) is small and can be crowded, but it pays to be patient. The museum has a rich array of historic objects, mission memorabilia, and displays, including a wooden bell used in the church in the old days.

In 2012 the mission established an Archival Center, which houses an extensive collection of documents pertaining to San Buenaventura and its rich history.

Tips for Visitors

Burial Site On the exterior back wall of the church is a memorial to three Franciscans who served at the mission and died there in the 1800s. 

There is a road (restricted car access) directly across from the mission that leads towards the US101 freeway and the ocean, which is quite close.  

Other Historic Sites

Five remote Channel Islands are right off the Ventura Coast. A visitor center is at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura. 805-658-5730.

Nearby Santa Barbara offers the opportunity to visit another mission and the only restored presidio in California.

Additional Information
  • Señán, J. (1962) The Letters of José Señán, O.F.M.: Mission San Buenaventura 1796-1823. Ventura County Historical Society.
  • Weber, F. J. (1977) A History of San Buenaventura Mission (Msgr. Webber served as Pastor of San Buenaventura from 1975 to 1981)
  • Engelhardt, Z. (1930) San Buenaventura, The Mission by the Sea (The definitive early history of the mission)
     

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