Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Friday, May 15, 2015

California Mission Pilgrimage - 8

California Mission Pilgrimage(8)


Day Ten: Divine Mercy Sunday


Mission San Juan Capistrano

          After driving home on Saturday, we went back to Mission San Juan Capistrano on Divine Mercy Sunday to finish our pilgrimage.  After attending Mass in the new basilica, we visited the old Mission.  We had been there numerous times, but it continues to be a special place.

          First of all, this Mission has more to see, in terms of artifacts and buildings, than any other Mission, with the possible exception of La Purisima.  There are also some really incredible places here.

          One is the Old Stone Church.  This church was a labor of love, built by the padres and Indians in the beginning of the 1800s.  You can see little sea shells mixed in with the stones, that had been added by Indian women just so they could contribute something of personal value to the place.  After only eight years, the church collapsed during Mass on December 8, 1812, during an earthquake.  The ruins have been retrofitted, and the new basilica is a larger model of the Old Stone Church.

          Possibly the best place is the Serra Chapel.  This chapel, still used for Mass, is the last original building still standing in California, where Father Serra himself personally celebrated Mass.

The Serra Chapel

The Old Stone Church

Lots to see at this Mission
The new basilica

          Thus ended our Mission pilgrimage.  It was an incredibly wonderful and spiritual experience.  In the weeks since I have gotten back and returned to the hectic pace of life, I have often found myself thinking longingly of our trip.  I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone else thinking of giving it a try.