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April 8, 2014 - Today's adventure was to visit the Mission San Fernando Rey de España, located in the Mission Hills district of Los Angeles.  The mission was founded on September 8, 1797 and was the seventeenth of the Spanish missions established in present day California.  The mission is named for St. Ferdinand, King of Spain (1217-1252).  The mission is the namesake of the nearby city of San Fernando and the San Fernando Valley.

Of all of the missions that we've seen, this one has the most artifacts.

This is a statue of the founder and the first father-president of the California Franciscan mission chain, Padre Junípero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan friar who first founded a mission in Baja California and then the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco.

This statue is of Father Fermín de Francisco Lasuén de Arasqueta, the second father-president of the California Franciscan mission chain.  Sometimes called the "forgotten friar," Padre Fermín Lasuén actually governed the California Mission system three years longer than his more famous predecessor, Padre Junípero Serra.  Father Lasuén personally founded nine missions in California, including the Mission San Fernando.

This mission is very large and has numerous buildings; it originally spread over 121,000 acres.  By 1811 the mission population reached 1,081 and stayed over 1,000 for the next ten years.  In its peak year, 1819, the livestock (principally cattle, sheep and horses) numbered 21,745.

In the old mission church the elaborate altar,  the gold-leafed reredos (decorative altarpieces) and the pulpit are carved from walnut and date to 1687. They were originally installed in the chapel of St. Philip Neri at Ezcaray, Spain.

On July 22, 2005, Bob Hope was entombed here in the garden behind the church. Hope's wife, Dolores, chose the mission for her husband's burial place because of his abiding love for the San Fernando Valley, where the couple raised four children.  "For most of his hundred years on old planet Earth and for all of his public life, Bob lived in the San Fernando Valley," said San Fernando Mission director Msgr. Francis Weber during the Bob Hope Memorial Garden dedication ceremony.  "On his many travels to the far corners of the world to entertain the nation's troops, his returning plane banked over the Old Mission as it made its way to Hollywood-Burbank Airport."

In his lifetime, Bob Hope said that he “performed for twelve presidents and entertained six.”

After leaving the mission, we stopped in the Montrose neighborhood of Glendale for some lunch at Cucina Rustica.  To say that we enjoyed our meal would be an understatement.  Judy had their Roasted Almond Chicken Risotto (grilled chicken, roasted almonds, pancetta, sundried tomatoes in a light cream sauce tossed with the risotto).  I had their Lasagna al Forno (layers of spinach pasta with meaty Bolognese and Béchamel sauce baked with parmesan and mozzarella).  We thought we were back in Italy, it was that good.  For dessert, we split a heart-shaped white chocolate gelato filled with a strawberry sorbet center.  It was pretty decadent and we loved it.

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