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January 14, 2017 - Our adventure today was to visit the small, beautiful San Secondo d'Asti Catholic Church in Ontario, CA.  In 1900, Secondo Guasti, an Italian immigrant moved to California and pioneered grape growing in the area.  Eventually his property grew to 5,000 acres of grapevines at its peak in 1917.  Mr. and Mrs. Secondo Guasti built this church to resemble the 17th century structure from his native village in Asti, Italy.  In 1924, the Guasti family brought woodworkers and stonemasons from Mexico and Italy to build the church.  It was completed in 1926 and dedicated on October 3, 1926, by Bishop John J. Cantwell of Los Angeles.  In 1935 the Guasti family, through the Italian Vineyard Company, donated the church to the Diocese of Los Angeles and San Diego.  Since 1978, it has been in the Diocese of San Bernardino.

The stained glass is a representation of St. Secundus (San Secondo), who was a military officer of Imperial Rome.  Like Secondo Guasti, he was also a citizen of the town of Asti, in the Piedmont region of Italy.  St. Secundus encountered persecution for his Christian faith when he dared to bury the body of the martyred St. Marcianus of Tortona.  St. Marcianus was the first bishop of Piedmont, and is said to have been a disciple of St. Barnabas (the companion of the Apostle Paul).  After performing that work of mercy, St. Secundus fled to Asti, but he was arrested and after cruel tortures, beheaded.  Mr. Guasti's namesake was San Secondo.

It's a beautiful church that reminded us of some of the small country churches that we've seen in Italy.  Since it opened in 1926 it has continuously operated for 91 years thanks to the vision of Mr. and Mrs. Guasti.  It was a wonderful adventure topped off by this view of Mt. Baldy after we left the church.

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Last modified: September 27, 2017