Everyone knows that Los Angeles, California, is named after the Angels. It was once known as the “City of Angels.” But did you know that the original city name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula” (in English, “City of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the little Portion.”)
On Wednesday, August 2, 1769, Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest, wrote in his journal about a beautiful river winding down from the Northwest. It was the feast day of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, so he named the river, Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de la Porciúncula. Twelve years later, pioneers gathered at the river and built a town. Soon the town, and later the megalopolis that would become Los Angeles appeared, and the river quickly became known as the Los Angeles River.
When naming the river that would become a town and then a city, Father Juan was looking back to his own Franciscan roots. The heart of the Franciscan Community in Assisi was rooted at the chapel rebuilt by St. Francis, the Portiuncula or “little portion.” From the Portiuncula, St. Francis would send his brothers out on a mission, two by two, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the place where he prayed and where he died in 1226.
Join us as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula on Friday, August 2, with a Festive Mass at 6:30 p.m. in the Mission Church. A reception follows.