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Installation of three new bronze statues on front of Santa Clara Mission set for 10 a.m. Thursday, April 13

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 12, 2000 - Statues of three saints return to familiar positions on the front adobe wall of the Mission Santa Clara de Asis at Santa Clara University this week, just in time for Holy Week and 15 months after their removal for repairs.

The five-foot bronze castings of St. Clare, St. John the Baptist, and St. Francis of Assisi are to be delivered to the University at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Before they are placed on the front of the 72-year-old Mission Church, at 10 a.m., they are to be blessed by Dennis Parnell, S.J., rector of the Santa Clara Jesuit community.

The bronze statues were cast last month by Don Rich Studios in Oakland, as part of a restoration project for the University by the Oakland Museum of California. The molds were made from the original carved fruitwood statues that had been on the Mission Church since it was built in 1928.

The wood statues, carved in Oberammergau, Germany, in 1928, were removed from their pedestals on the front of the Mission Church in January 1999 after University maintenance crews discovered extensive insect and dry rot damage.

Their return this Thursday will mark the end of a painstaking, $30,000 restoration project.

The current Mission Church was built at what is now the center of the SCU campus. It is the fifth building of the Santa Clara mission, whose original site near the San Jose International Airport was California's eighth Catholic mission in 1777.

John Burke, chief conservator for the Oakland Museum of California, said the fruitwood statues were fumigated with carbon dioxide, inspected, then taken apart for the molds and the bronze casting, which has been done in pieces. The University is considering a proposal from the museum to restore the original carved statues, for display at the University's de Saisset Museum.

Santa Clara University is a 7,700-student, Catholic, Jesuit university with a rigorous undergraduate curriculum and nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Established in 1851, it has a tradition of educating the whole person for a life of service and leadership. California's oldest institution of higher learning celebrates its sesquicentennial in the 2000-01 academic year.

The Oakland Museum of California, a non-profit organization, is the largest regional museum in the world, with a focus on California. Its conservation program, while focused primarily on preservation of the museum's artifacts and exhibits, also contracts with other museums and collectors to restore and preserve art and historical objects.

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MEDIA:

John Burke will be available for interviews at the Mission Church Thursday, April 13.

For more information about the Santa Clara Mission statue restoration project, contact Barry Holtzclaw, director of media relations, 408-554-5126, e-mail at news@scu.edu, or call John Burke at the Oakland Museum of California, 510-238-3806. For more information about Santa Clara University, the Mission Church or other programs, see www.scu.edu.

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