Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mission Road Trip

How we Roll

San Diego is the last of our road trip Missions. We will continue to visit the last five close to home by October. I threw the idea for this trip out, and my very organized travelling companion went into action. Those of you have worked with her can imagine the detail we left town with, including printed directions to back up the GPS, and  Wikipedia articles about the Missions. 

 We traveled with a Sunset Magazine book published in 1979 from Pacifica's Sanchez Library. I had taken out other other beautiful books via the miracle of interlibrary loan. (from some better funded library). But they had to go back before we left. I'll get them again because if you've been reading you 

know I have a lot of questions. One is California Missions-History, Art and Preservation. The other is California Missions by Monsignor Francis Weber.  His book will be great to read as I contemplate the controversy about Canonizing Father Serra as a Saint in Washington. D.C September 23.

Missions and Tacos Sixteen

San  Diego de Alcala

It turns out that Diego is a nickname for Didacus. This Mission was burned down, rebuilt, destroyed in an earthquake, restored and enlarged and restored again. The local Kumeyaay never liked the settlers. Eight hundred attacked the mission killing the blacksmith Padre Jayme.

The word "attack" was scratched out on the museum sign, but there wasn't a suggestion for an alternate description. 

First Mission, farthest south

Each bell has a history

It is bright in the San Diego sun, surrounded by a neighborhood. If the big parking lot in the center courtyard is an indication, it is well used by its parishioners.

The church is a nice painted one.
I like these more than the gilt altars.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
 is a
bit off in the corner

This reminded me of  the churches in Chile,  bloody.

A chapel was  added in 1997 (why?) and it has an amazing altar and choir stalls from 1300's Spain. And the floor is from Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico. Maybe creating a home for these cool things is reason enough to build a chapel.

Choir stall detail
The sign from the archaeological dig said the unfortunately the          research and notes from the dig were not available. I asked in the    gift shop what happened to them. Sounds like it is something about a late professor's chicken scratch notes and the university.                

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Missions and Tacos Fifteen

San Juan Capistrano

Among the missions there appear to be "haves" and "have nots". I have a tendency to root for the mustier, less organized, funkier and no doubt especially poorly funded missions. But San Juan Capistrano is at the top of the heap in terms of organization and curation, yet it is still approachable.

The desk you arrive at is Disneyland efficient, ropes and all. It's one of the few Missions where you are not paying admission to a volunteer who is also running the gift shop. There is even an audio tour.  I had a slight sense of foreboding, " what have they done here?"

The Hollywood tinge here was strongest in the thirties so that of course makes it more romantic. SR's Mom and her Dad spoke every year about the swallows return because it was close to his birthday. They both liked to sing "When the swallows return to Capistrano" (that's the day I pray you'll come back to me). It was a hit by the Ink Spots in 1940, and then again by Pat Boone in 1957. 

The song is personally poignant and is apparently partly responsible for the amazing visitor numbers here (330,000), and the robust town that surrounds it.

The Mission is inviting and pretty.

San Juan de Capistrano , the Saint seems to be mixed back from a 21st century view. He was a Franciscan reformer who worked for simplicity but he was also an inquisitor who incited antisemitism.

St. Perigrine - Patron Saint for those with cancer.
Touched by those praying here.
Junipero Serra Chapel

Men, women and children carried stones for nine year for a stone church which was completed in 1806. Just six years later an earthquake destroyed it, killing forty worshipers. They never rebuilt at the Mission, using the Serra Chapel. In 1986 a church (now a Basila)  was built down the street, patterned after the original. 

Mission and Tacos Fourteen

Mission San Louis Rey de Francia

The flags are waving in the breezes of Oceanside. San Luis Rey is said to have been peaceful and thriving under its long term Padre Peyri.  Today is it large and unassuming. The chapel is pretty, my traveling companion's favorite so far.

Parishioners were praying

Being a Sunday night Wonderful World of Disney fan I loved this bit of Hollywood lore. The skull and crossbones at the cemetery gate were added by Disney for a Zorro episode.

Named for a French King Saint, in the
spirit of France - Spain relations by the
Viceroy. The King's mother was Spanish so that probably helped.

The sign said Brandy was made for trade. 

The ocean breezes inspired us to go for fish tacos and we scored. 
This place is delicious! We tried the grilled, then the breaded. When he realized we were sharing he brought them on two plates. Once again Yelpers steered us well.

Missions and Tacos Thirteen

San Gabriel Archangel

In keeping with the theme that the Missions really feel distinct from one another, check out how Moorish and angular this architecture is. This is because the first Padre,  Antonio Cruz came from Cordova and had its Cathedral in mind.

San Gabriel may look like a fort from the outside but it is lovely and warm inside.

The museum is fun to wander around in, out of doors. I felt a sense of community participation. 
Signs of the cross

My shot does not do justice to this beautiful Archangel Michael. Archangels are "chief angels" There are variable and overlapping traditions but for Catholics Gabriel, Micheal and Raphael are always mentioned. I really wonder about religious strife as I discover that Archangels are included in the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

They only ring these on Easter

Missions and Tacos Twelve

San Fernando Rey de Espana

Maybe it is Southern California culture shock.
San Fernando is a nicely spiffed up Mission, that is clearly successful... but I don't love it.  There is tons of green grass (drought?) that gives it a bit of a country club feel.  The poor people have this thing in their front yard.

The museum has pieces that knock me out like this holy water holder. But then there is this guy. He feels like he dropped over from Hollywood. 

They had the detailed information I've been wishing for in two little brochures they sell for 23 cents. Not only does it explain which saint we are looking at, but it tells the story of how it arrived here. It would be great if other Missions had a Msgr. Weber to delve into the past and share the what's been discovered.

The museum is well staged and with plenty of space they have captured everything cool that has happened at this mission. 

The Serra Chapel is pretty spectacular. And it is well used, with Mass daily. We entered when a funeral was over.

The Hollywood feel continues outside where Bob Hope and others in his family are buried in the Bob Hope Memorial Garden. 

I wonder how all this came about?