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Mission San Diego de Alcala


Mission San Diego de Alcala

The Facade

As a result of the Indian attack of 1775, Padre Serra returned during the summer of 1776 to initiate the reconstruction of Mission San Diego. The church and buildings were rebuilt and the Mission flourished for a number of years.

Earthquakes of the early 1800's destroyed most of the adobe buildings and church. The structures were rebuilt and buttress wings were added in 1812 to strengthen the facade of the church. By the early 1920's portions of the walls adjoining the buttresses, the campanario, and the baptistry were the only walls that remained standing.

The doors are replicas made of redwood and the carvings are taken from actual designs that were on the original doors. The emblem over the door is the papal insignia and signifies that Mission San Diego is a minor basilica. This honor was bestowed on the Mission by Pope Paul VI in 1976.

The statues in the niches along the corridor represent the nine missions founded by Padre Serra, in chronological order. Each statue represents the saint for whom that mission was named.




Historical Landmark No. 242
MISSION SAN DIEGO DE ALCALA

ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1769 FATHERS JUNIPERO SERRA, JUAN
VISCAINO AND FERNANDO PARRON RAISED AND BLESSED
A CROSS TO ESTABLISH ALTA CALIFORNIA'S 1ST MISSION.
RELOCATED FROM PRESIDIO HILL TO THIS SITE IN
AUGUST 1774 THE MISSION WAS THE MOTHER OF THOSE
FOUNDED IN CALIFORNIA BY THE FRANCISCAN ORDER.
THE PRESENT BUILDINGS, FIRST COMPLETED IN 1813,
WERE REBUILT IN STAGES FROM 1915 TO 1931 AFTER
MANY YEARS OF DETERIORATION. THEY HAVE BEEN IN
USE AS A PARISH CHURCH SINCE FEBRUARY 1941.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 242

ORIGINALLY REGISTERED JUNE 10, 1936. PLAQUE PLACED

BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
IN COOPERATION WITH THE DIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO AND
SQUIBOB CHAPTER, E CLAMPUS VITUS, SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1989.




Father Serra plaque
TO THE MEMORY OF
 
FRAY JUNIPERO SERRA. O.F.M.
 
ON JULY 16, 1769.
HE FOUNDED AND ESTABLISHED
 
MISSION SAN DIEGO DE ALCALA
 
HE THUS FORMED THE LINK
BETWEEN HIS HOME CITY
PETRA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN,
WITH THE FIRST OF THE GREAT
MISSIONS IN ALTA CALIFORNIA.

PRESENTED TO THE
CITIZENS OF PETRA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN
BY THE
CITIZENS OF SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA,
DURING THEIR BICENTENNIAL YEAR
1969




El Camino Real plaque
EL CAMINO REAL

THIS PLAQUE IS PLACED ON THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE BIRTH OF CALIFORNIA'S APOSTLE, PADRE
JUNIPERO SERRA, O.F.M., TO MARK THE SOUTHERN
TERMINUS OF EL CAMINO REAL AS PADRE SERRA
KNEW IT AND HELPED TO BLAZE IT.

1713 - NOVEMBER 24 - 1963

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL
LANDMARK NO. 784


PLAQUE PLACED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARK COMMISSION
IN COOPERATION WITH THE COMMITTEE FOR EL CAMINO REAL
DECEMBER 29, 1963




History of the Mission

Discovery

Captain Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo under the orders of the Spanish Monarch to search the North West Coast of California for a passage to the Atlantic Ocean entered the harbor of San Diego on September 28, 1542. He named the area San Miguel for the Saint whose feast was celebrated on that day. Cabrillo's stay was short and he continued north to try to accomplish his objectives. For nearly sixty years this harbor lay untouched by the Europeans until Captain Sebastian Viscaino anchored his Flagship, San Diego, in the bay on November 10, 1602. Viscaino was in search of pearls and was instructed to survey the area. On November 12, the Captain along with a chaplain and a small party, went ashore and celebrated Mass in honor of Saint Didicus of Alcala whose feast day was the following day and for whom the region was promptly named.

Founding 1769

In 1768, a decision was made by the delegates of King Carlos III of Spain, to occupy Alta California, specifically San Diego and Monterey. This decision was made for fear that the Russians would expand out from Alaska and into Spanish territory. Four expeditions were sent out, two by land and two by sea to secure the entire Northwest Coast through the Right of Discovery.

Captain Gaspár was placed in command of both sea and land expeditions by Inspector General Jose de Gálvez. On January 9, 1769, the San Carlos set sail from La Paz under the command of Vincente Vila and a month later, the San Antonio sailed under Juan Perez. The Land Expeditions departed as the ships sailed. Captain Fernando de Rivera led one party and the second party was under the leadership of Portolá and accompanied by Father Serra. On April 11, 1769, the San Antonio dropped anchor in San Diego Bay. The Rivera land party arrived on May 4. The San Carlos was forced off course by a storm and arrived with most of its crew lost to scurvy. By July 1, 1769, Father Serra had arrived and united all of the expedition parties. Temporary structures were built to house those who were weakened by the grueling travel until permanent structures could be built. A site was chosen near the Indian village of Cosoy, which overlooked San Diego Bay. It was at this site that Padre Serra raised the cross on July 16, 1769 and said Mass to formally establish Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

Father Junipero Serra

Born November 24, 1713 in Petra on the island of Mallorca, Spain. He entered the Franciscan Order at age 16 and became a priest in 1738. Padre Junipero earned his doctorate in theology and taught philosophy at a Franciscan convent in Palm until 1749 when he left for the new world to become a missionary.

Father Serra arrived in the Americas on December 18, 1749 and was assigned to the College of San Fernando in Mexico City in 1768. In 1768, he was named Superior of the Franciscan Friars who were to Christianize Baja and Alta California. Father Serra founded the Mission of San Fernando Velicatá in Baja California and then Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Alta California. This Mission was established on July 16, 1769 and it is the first of the nine mission that were founded by Father Serra in Alta California. Father Serra died on August 28, 1784 at Mission San Carlos Borromeo, in Carmel, California.

Moving the Mission

Father Luis Jayme, who succeeded Padre Serra in San Diego, requested permission to move the mission site. The decision for this move was based on the need for better farmland, fresh water to be closer to the native inhabitants and to separate the Indian Neophytes, or converts, away from the often unruly soldiers.

Permission to move the mission was granted by the Viceroy, and a site was chosen six miles inland and close to an Indian area called Nipaguay. Under the direction of Fray Luis Jayme and Vincente Fuster, the construction of a church, rectory, corral and quarters for the Indians were built by December 1774.

Mission Attacked

San Diego de Alcalá was the only of the 21 Missions to be attacked by the Native Americans. On November 5, 1775, as many as 600 Indians descended upon the mission after midnight where Padre Luis Jayme, Padre Vincente Fuster and nine other individuals were asleep. What perhaps began as a raid on the mission for clothing and goods quickly developed into an open attack that sought to destroy the mission.

Awakened by the attack, Padre Luis Jayme approached a group of Indians and greeted them by saying, "Love God, my children." As the Indians continued to burn the mission, several individuals seized Father Jayme and beat him to death. Father Jayme became California's first Christian martyr. The next morning, survivors from the attack collected the wounded and found Father Jayme's badly disfigured body near the river. Also, killed in the attack were the blacksmith, Jose Romero and a carpenter named Urselino.




Interior of the Church


left side of the alter center of the alter right side of the alter

view toward the rear of the church baptismal font view toward the front of the church




The Campanario

The Campanario is 46 feet high and holds the Mission bells. The crown-topped bell on the lower right is named Ave Maria Purisima - Immaculate Mary. It weighs 805 pounds and was cast in 1802. A crown-topped bell was usually supplied by the Spanish King and cast in the royal foundry in Barcelona at the King's expense or made in a country ruled by Spain. Ave Maria Purisima was in the vestibule of St. Joseph's church and was hung in the campanario after the reconstruction of Mission San Diego in 1931.

The bell on the lower left is called Mater Dolorosa - Our Lady of Sorrows. It weighs 1200 pounds and was recast by the Standard Iron Works of San Diego in 1894 from bell fragments found in the vicinity of the Mission.

The bells played an important role in the everyday life of the Mission. A sequence of tones and rhythms was developed for each occasion. They were used to announce times for Mass, work, meals, and siestas. The bells signalled danger, rang solemnly to honor the dead and pealed joyously to celebrate feast days, weddings, and fiestas.

The Campanario The Campanario




The Garden

The garden became a formal part of the Mission after the rebuilding of the church in 1931. Represented in this garden are various plants such as palm trees, bougainvillea, aloe vera and roses. Within the garden are crosses made from original mission tiles placed here in remembrance of all the Indian neophytes who died during the mission period.

The statue of St. Joseph represents the patron saint of the expedition to San Diego. Many people believe he miraculously saved the expedition and prevented the abandonment of the Mission after a novena of prayers for the arrival of a supply ship was offered by the padres and soldiers in March of 1770 under Padre Serra's guidance. On March 19, St. Joseph's Feast Day, a ship was sighted on the horizon. The ship was headed for Monterey but sailed into San Diego because of the loss of an anchor. The men were spared from starvation and the sacred expedition to establish missions in Alta California continued.

Fr. Antonio Ubach and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet conducted an Indian school at the Mission from 1891 to 1908. The large white building to the west of the garden was used as a girls dormitory. The wishing well statue of St. Francis of Assisi represents the founder of the Franciscan Order. Saint Francis dedicated his life to preaching, teaching the faith, caring of the sick, loving nature and restoring abandoned churches. The padres who established and worked at the 21 mission in Alta California were Franciscan.

Garden Garden Garden

Garden Garden Garden




The Chapel

The chapel was built in 1977 and houses choir stalls, a throne and alter that came from a Carmelite monastery in Plasencia, Spain and date back to the 1300's. The choir stalls are grooved and fit so that no nails are used to hold them together. The seats raise up to allow the monks to stand in place while singing. The eagle on the throne signifies strength and victory and is a symbol of the Resurrection.

The floor of the chapel came from Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City. The cross is made of granite and the remaining areas are covered in cantera stone.

Chapel Choir stalls




Mission Grounds


mission grounds mission grounds

mission grounds mission grounds


Mission San Diego




Mission San Diego de Alcala is located on San Diego Mission Road, just east of Rancho Mission Road, in San Diego. See map.




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