Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was a Roman Catholic Spanish Franciscan friar who founded nine Spanish Missions in California stretching from San Diego to Carmel.
The last of these nine missions, founded on March 31, 1782, was Mission San Buenaventura, which today is an active parish of 3,000 members located at 211 East Main Street in Ventura.
Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, and canonized by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. - the first canonization ceremony to be held in the country.
Located on a pedestrian island in front of Ventura City Hall at the intersection of N. California Street and Poli Street is a bronze statue of Father Junipero Serra.
In 1936, the Federal Art Project (part of the New Deal) funded this heroic sculpture. Finnish sculptor John Palo-Kangas originally cast it in cement, which decayed over the years.
The present statue, an exact replica of the original statue, was cast in bronze and dedicated on October 20, 1989. A wooden duplicate used in the making of the bronze statue can be seen in the City Hall Atrium.
According to the Mission San Buenaventura website, Serra stood just 5 feet, 2 inches in height. This statue is over 9 feet tall. Go check it out!