The San Juan Capistrano Mission was consecrated on October 30, 1776, by Franciscan Fray Fermín Lasuén, but had to be abandoned almost immediately afterwards, as news of Indian raids came from the South, at the San Diego Mission.
Estela in the middle of the
entrance pathway in the central
atrium of the Mission, just as
we came in through the front
Fray Junipero Serra greeting a
young native boy, possibly his
young page that was given to him
in Baja California, and shortly
afterward slain during an Indian
attack in San Diego, in 1769
The Franciscans dedicated this Mission to a 14th Century Franciscan Saint from the town of Capestrano, Abruzzo, Italy, San Giovanni da Capestano, noted Theologian, and solider, a participant at the age of 70 in the crusade against the Ottoman , during the battle of Belgrade. Saint John Capistrano is the patron saint of Hungary.
A central fountain in the courtyard of the Mission
This was a grand stone church that was
destroyedduring the 1812 earthquake.
The stone walls give testimony to
the determination of the Franciscan
Missionaries and to the talent of
neophyte native Christian in
adopting European construction
The apse of the main altar.
From what is left here of the
main apse, we can surmise that
the back wall supported a wooden
three level-three row retablo or
Under this archway was possibly a
side altar with a central niche and
holes of what may have been archors
or supports for a retablo or altar
The famous four bell ensemble of the Mission of
San Juan Capistrano, called an "espadaña"
The bell "espadaña" as seen from the outside of
what once was the main Mission church prior to
Monument in the Mission
Beautifully carved wooden pulpit and
The Mission Chapel is the oldest
structure in the State of California.
Side altar of the Mission Chapel,
where Fray Junipero Serra celebrated
This Crucifixion scene is on the side
of the long Mission Chapel
Gold and green chasuble and stole for
celebrating Mass from the time of the
Franciscan Missions. Priest use the
green Chasuble during the Ordinary
Liturgical time, "the Sundays after
Pentecost" and up-until Advent. Green
symbolizes hope of the spring and the
summer of the soul, the teachings of
the three years of the Public LIfe of
The San Juan Capistrano Mission is full of wall
charts that give us a clear idea of the history and
cultural background of the area.
On this Mission Museum chart is an explanation
on the different herbs that the Natives used in
the Mission, from medicine to soap.
Pottery used by the natives of the area.
Main altar of the modern church of
San Juan Capistrano, adjacent to the
Side altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the
modern adjacent church of San Juan de
Children's handout map, to help
younger visitors find their bearing in
the Mission in a graphical way.
Entrance to the friars Refectory.
Oldest chapel in the state of California, became
in the first half of the 20th Century an iconic
site for weddings among the Hollywood set.
The roof had flat wooden planks.
Organ in Choir loft.
Stone-carved baptismal fount.
Dining room quarters at the Mission
Model of the Mission at it stood at the end of the
Catalan smelting furnace used for melting ore
for iron and copper
Catalan smelting furnace had an
oxygen input that was fed by
Cart wheels were made at the
Mission and were in high demand
Hand-tools and agricultural tools were made at
Blacksmith's anvil at the mission
The friars built large basins and
tubs for wine making as well as
Inside fermentation pool used for
Bunks used by the soldiers
Soldiers quarters and barracks.
Arched passageways typical of
Monastery constructions and
Smaller Mission bells, used for summoning the
friars to prayer or to meals.