Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala
This is the first of a “Missions of California” series we are planning over the next year. Our goal is to visit every Mission south of San Francisco and bring them back to you along with interesting and informative narratives. We were directed to the back of the Mission by a parishioner who said this side is best with the early morning sun! This is California’s first and oldest Mission.
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California, was the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was founded in 1769 by Spanish friar Junipero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians. The mission and the surrounding area were named for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego. The mission was the site of the first Christian burial in Alta California. San Diego is also generally regarded as the site of the region’s first public execution, in 1778. Father Luis Jayme, “California’s First Christian Martyr,” lies entombed beneath the chancel floor. The current church is the fourth to stand on this location.