When Father Tom Elewaut saw the name on his phone’s caller ID the night of June 30, the pastor of Mission San Buenaventura guessed the call had something to do with the recent controversy over whether to remove the statue of St. Junípero Serra in front of Ventura’s City Hall.
He guessed wrong.
“I’ve got some good news,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez on the other end of the line. “You’re a minor basilica.”
Father Elewaut’s voice started to crack with emotion. He’d spent the last six years researching, praying, and waiting for Pope Francis to decide whether to elevate his 238-year-old parish to the rank of “minor basilica.”