Santa Clara University

SCU Today

Back to Blog

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-May 07, 2002- This week, Santa Clara University will replace the large cross located at the main entrance to campus.

For over 20 years, this cross marked the site of the third Mission Church. Because of dry rot and termite infestation, the University decided late last year to replace it. The cross was removed Monday, May 6.

On Wednesday, May 8 at 1 p.m., a new cross will be hoisted by crane into its position along the eastern edge of the third Mission Church building footprint.

The former cross was erected on Easter 1981. It was a replica of the original cross of the first mission, which was installed in January 1777.

The new cross, made from a large cedar tree, weighs over 500 pounds, is 10 feet wide and 17 feet in height. In order to preserve the historical image, the contractor hand-tooled its rustic finish to reflect that of the early 1800's when no power tools were available. The bible replica from the former cross will-be re-hung on the new cross to preserve its history.
Planning is underway for a public blessing of the cross.

Historical background

In 1784, Fray Junipero Serra came to Mission Santa Clara. After he consecrated the church and cemetery, Serra laid a cornerstone for the third location of the Mission Church. The cornerstone was found by workmen in 1911. Due to earthquake damage and flooding in 1818, the Mission Church had to be relocated to the temporary fourth site, which is currently the lawn area between the Kenna and Walsh Buildings, until the fifth Church could be constructed. The current Mission Church still stands at this fifth location.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 7,400 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the third-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at

Crane and crew position new cross into place.

Tags: cross

Printer-friendly format