San Fernando Rey de España

San Fernando Rey de España

General Information


September 8, 1797 - The 17th California Mission

Also Called:

San Fernando Mission; La Misión del Señor Fernando, Rey de España (The Mission of Saint Ferdinand, King of Spain)

Current Status:

Active Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


San Fernando Rey de España was founded on September 8, 1797. This mission is organized around a large quadrangle, with a simple adobe church located in one corner. A Convento (the padre’s quarters and a guest house) branches off the quadrangle. The Convento has a stunning colonnade with 19 arches, bordering the full length of the building.


15151 San Fernando Mission Boulevard
Mission Hills, CA 91345
United States

Get Directions


The mission is located in the San Fernando Valley. Unless you are familiar with the freeway system in the San Fernando Valley (the mission is located in the middle of a triangle formed by Interstate 5, Interstate 405, and the Semi Valley Freeway), use your car navigation system to get to Mission San Fernando.

The most direct route from Los Angeles is to take Interstate 5 North to Exit 157B and take San Fernando Mission Boulevard. The mission is less than a mile on the left side of the road.


It does not appear that this mission has an active website.


818-361-0186 - Mission Gift Shop (General Switchboard). Extension 2 will get you to the Mission Gift Shop. Be patient as the line is often busy.

Fees, Hours, Tours and Church Services

Please contact the mission directly by telephone at the number provided above.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is best to check for current information.

Weddings and Other Special Services

The San Fernando Mission holds Catholic Weddings all days except Sundays. Couples must provide their own priest and secure the permission of their Pastor to be married at the mission.

Unique Attractions

  • The Convento (also called the Long Building) built in 1822 served as the padre's quarters and guest house. This attractive building, which has a colonnade with nineteen (19) arches on the street side of the structure and measures 243 feet by 50 feet, was often mistaken for the mission itself.
  • With the exception of the Convento, the church and the many display rooms are accessible from the central quadrangle.
  • The simple mission church is an exact replica of the third church on the site. The church's superb altar, reredos, and pulpit (carved from walnut) date to 1687 and were originally housed in the Chapel of St. Philip Neri in Ezcaray, Spain.
  • This mission has two well-landscaped and large gardens. The west garden contains an important sculpture of the mission's founder, Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén. This 1955 sculpture, which depicts Lasuén as a young missionary, is by Stephen Zakian.
  • The Archival Center for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is located on the grounds of the mission (the building is located near the Convento). There are displays and paintings on the first floor that are well-worth seeing.
A Contemporary View of the Convent Arches
A Contemporary View of the Convent Arches
San Fernando Rey quadrangle
San Fernando Rey quadrangle
The Scarab Altar, Reredos, and Pulpit in the Mission Church
The Scarab Altar, Reredos, and Pulpit in the Mission Church
Statue of Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
Statue of Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
Sheep and Wool Gathering by Escobar-Keith
Sheep and Wool Gathering by Escobar-Keith

Other Historic Attractions

  • The San Fernando Valley is highly urbanized. Visitors who want to devote a full day to exploring mission-era history typically visit both Mission San Fernando and Mission San Gabriel, California's fourth mission.

Tips for Visitors

  • This is an exceptionally large complex. You will do plenty of walking at this mission.
  • Be sure to study the special display map as you enter the mission grounds. Many visitors miss a lot on their first visit.
  • The best view of the church is from the west garden.
  • Don't miss the Convento. Allow time to explore the many rooms and displays in this fascinating structure.
  • Be sure to visit Brand Park (also referred to as Mission Park) directly across from the mission. This contains an exceptionally fine statue of Junípero Serra.
  • For more information regarding this mission, go to the Wikipedia Reference page.
San Fernando Rey de Eapaña Mission Layout
San Fernando Rey de Eapaña Mission Layout
The Serra Statue
The Serra Statue

Year Secularized


Year Returned to Catholic Church


Patron Saint (Named For)

St. Ferdinand, King of Spain in the 13th century.

Prominent Missionary Leaders

  • Founding Father President - Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
  • Founding Missionaries - Fr. Francisco Dumetz and Fr. Juan Lope Cortés
Fr. Fermin Francisco do Lasuén
Fr. Fermin Francisco do Lasuén

Indians Joining Mission

The Mission Indian neophytes of San Fernando were referred to as Fernandiños after the mission. Though originally identified with the Tataviam and Gabrielino-Tongva, in the 20th century mission Indian descendants of San Gabriel and San Fernando adopted the name Tongva.

The Tongva were recognized as a distinct tribe by the State of California in 1994. They have sought Federal recognition for decades. To learn more about this Indian tribe, check out their website.

Mission Site

Established at the native site of Achooykomenga/Pasheeknga, in a spacious valley on the Spanish grazing concession of Rancho Los Encinos held by Don Francisco Reyes.

Whereas the Spanish referred to the region as El Valle de Sata Catalin de Bononia de los Encinos, the Tataviam called the area Achois Comihabit.

Mission Layout

Traditional quadrangle. A large hospice called the Convento, or Long Building, built in 1822, branched off the quadrangle.

Mission San Fernando
Mission San Fernando

Water Source

Several springs provided abundant water and a vast irrigation system supplied the missions and its lands.


By 1811 the mission population reached 1,081 and stayed over 1,000 for the next ten (10) years. There were still 400 former neophytes resident at San Fernando in 1843.


In its peak year, 1819, San Fernando had 12,800 head of cattle, which were a major source of food and revenue. The mission also had a large number of sheep (an average of 5,000 in its peak year).

San Fernando Rey Cattle Brand
San Fernando Rey Cattle Brand

Agricultural Output

Over the years 1798-1832, San Fernando harvested over 156,000 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, garbanzos (chickpeas), and habas (broad beans). The last inventory recorded 32,000 grapevines and over 1,000 fruit trees.

Mission Church

The simple mission church is an exact replica of the third (3rd) church completed in 1806 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1971.

The San Fernando Church
The San Fernando Church

Mission Bells

A bell hangs in the belfry of the church. Another bell, weighing 100 pounds and dated to 1796, bears inscriptions for both Mission San Fernando and a Russian Orthodox Church official of the island of Kodiak, Alaska. It is believed by some that the bell originated with Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov's 1806 Russian trading expedition to Alta California.

Mission Art and Artifacts

The elaborate altar, reredos, and pulpit are carved from walnut and date to 1687. They were originally installed in the Chapel of St. Philip Neri at Ezcaray, Spain, and reassembled in part at San Fernando by California Missions' curator Sir Richard Joseph Menn of the Diocese of Monterey.

The Scarab Altar, Reredos, and Pulpit in the Mission Church
The Scarab Altar, Reredos, and Pulpit in the Mission Church

Significant Events

  • On March 8, 1842 Francisco López, a majordomo on one of the mission ranches, discovered gold particles clinging to the roots of wild onion bulbs in Placerita Canyon. The gold petered out in four (4) years but this was the earliest gold strike in California. For years thereafter, treasure seekers dug up the mission's adobe walls and floors to find the gold they mistakenly thought the padres had hidden.
  • The last Mexican governor of California, Pio de Jesus Pico, granted his brother Andres Pico a very favorable nine (9) year lease on San Fernando Rey in 1845. Andres Pico purchased the property in 1856. It was not returned to the Church until 1862.
A California Magnate In His Home
A California Magnate In His Home

Interesting Facts

  • The first marriage at San Fernando Rey took place in 1797. It was held in a little arbor on the property as the first church wasn't completed until 1799.
  • Although the mission was secularized in 1834, Franciscans continued to minister at San Fernando until June 30, 1847 when Fr. Blas Ordaz, the last Franciscan and last resident priest, left. Thereafter, San Fernando was attended from Our Lady of the Angels Church in Los Angeles.
  • Restoration of the church was financed in part in 1916 by the sale of thousands of candles at $1.00 each.
  • Oblates of Mary Immaculate have been responsible for the mission since 1923.

For Additional Information

  • Pauley, C. and K. (2005). San Fernando Rey De España: An Illustrated History. (A richly illustrated and informative history).
  • Weber, F.J. Memories of an Old Mission San Fernando Rey de España. (Available at the Mission Gift Shop).
  • Nunis, D.B. (1997). Mission San Fernando - Rey de España 1797 – 1997.
  • Engelhardt, Z. (1927). Mission San Fernando Rey: The Mission of the Valley. (The definitive early history of the mission).