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. 

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