Almost six years after San Simeon Earthquake, Mission San Miguel reopens

The Monterey Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the rebuilding of Mission San Miguel Arcángel on Friday with a public grand opening.

The mission was badly damaged in the San Simeon Earthquake on Dec. 22, 2003. While there were no injuries, the temblor caused extensive cracks and damage to the adobe building, which was built in the 1790s. County officials closed the historic church after deeming it unsafe for occupation.

The major retrofit and renovation began last year. The total cost for retrofitting and renovating is estimated at between $13 million and $15 million, project manager John Fowler said. About $10 million has been raised between a $7 million insurance settlement and fundraising. An additional $3 million to $5 million is needed to complete all the work, but the church is safe to enter.

A special Mass will be held at noon Sunday, which is the Feast of St. Francis. The Franciscans founded all of California’s missions.