Posts tagged “Missions

Veteran’s Day 11/11/2011


Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War 1. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that the President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act  approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

This was shot outside of the Mission in Oceanside, California.

Semper Fi

This is a continuation the Missions of California Series. This was shot in the back garden of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Oceanside, California. Many of our Servicemen and Women live in Oceanside due to its proximity to Camp Pendleton, a Marine Training Base just a few miles to the  north. Here in the garden, there is beautiful courtyard with this dancing fountain, overlooked by The Virgin Mary. We visited during America’s Memorial Day Weekend and found hundreds of tributes, flowers, messages to our fallen Men and Women who have given their lives for our Liberties and Freedoms. It was beyond words.

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base. It is located on the Southern California coast, in San Diego County.

The base was established in 1942 to train U.S. Marines for service in World War II. By October 1944, Camp Pendleton was declared a “permanent installation” and by 1946, it became the home of the 1st Marine Division. It was named after Marine General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942), who had long advocated in setting up a training base for the Marine Corps on the west coast. Today it is the home to myriad Operating Force units including the Marine Expeditionary Force and various training commands.

I have worked with many Marines, as well as other Servicemen and Women – I have always been inspired by their integrity, sense of duty and straight talking common sense! …and above all, their love for the the Principles they fought to defend.

St Francis

This is another view of The St Francis Wishing Well in the back garden of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California. Shot during the early morning hours gave a nice glow and backlight to this westward facing St Francis.

It has been argued that no one in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work, of Christ in Christ’s own way. This is important in understanding Francis’ character and his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament. He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty. Poverty was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order. He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters,” and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf!

The King of Missions

This is another shot from the inside of Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California. The Padres were kind enough to allow photography and even tripods to be used which made shooting this so much easier. We’d like to thank them for their kindness and generosity.

The goals of the missions were, above all, to establish a Spanish presence in the Las Californias province and to become independently self-supportive (by their standards and perceived needs). Ranching and farming were the most important industry of the mission. To have the indigenous residents (The Luiseño) using foreign skills, training in agriculture for European crops, blacksmithing, and domestic animal husbandry was given. The Luiseños were relocated and conscripted to do the herding, farming, construction, hide tanning, leather work, weaving, cooking, and cleaning.(Pretty much everything the Spanish didn’t care to do). Everything consumed and utilized by the Spanish and Luiseño living at the mission was predominantly produced there by those native people under the control of Padres and soldiers. Imports, by sea and overland, from central New Spain (Mexico) added with some trade goods and the Crown’s modest supplemental funds.

Behind the Mother of California Missions

A Quiet Place

This is another in the series of Missions of California shot inside the small Chapel behind the main edifice of San Diego de Alcalá Mission in San Diego, California. This is a very quaint and endearing place to pay respect. It shows the true history and intimacy of the earlier days of this Mission. Missions were not funded by the Government, and often less by the Church and had to fend for themselves in this new territory.

The goal of the Missions was, above all, to become self-sufficient in relatively short order. Farming, therefore, was the most important industry of any mission. Prior to the establishment of the missions, the native people knew only how to utilize bone, seashells, stone, and wood for building, tool making, weapons, and so forth. The missionaries discovered that the Indians, who regarded labor as degrading to the masculine sex, had to be taught industry in order to learn how to be self-supportive. The result was the establishment of a great manual training school that comprised agriculture, the mechanical arts, and the raising and care of livestock. Everything consumed and otherwise utilized by the natives was produced at the missions under the supervision of the Padres ; thus, the neophytes not only supported themselves, but after 1811 sustained the entire military and civil government of California. Wheat. corn, wine grapes, barley, beans, cattle, horses, and sheep were the major crops at San Diego. In 1795, construction on a system of aqueducts was begun to bring water to the fields and the Mission (the first irrigation project in Upper California). The building manager was Fray Pedro Panto, who was poisoned by his Indian cook Nazario before the project was completed.

The Hotel California

You can Checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave...

This is back to the Mission Series. Our goal is to visit, study and shoot every Mission up the California Coast. This one is the first and oldest and resides in Mission Valley, San Diego. This is an early morning from the back garden with the sun breaking through. Check out some of the other Mission shots on the blog to get some perspective. This also serves as a tribute of sorts to the song by The Eagles, “Hotel California”….recall “I heard The Mission Bell, and I was thinking to myself, “This could be Heaven or this could be Hell””

“Hotel California” topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for one week in May 1977. Three months after its release, the single was certified Gold  1,000,000 records shipped. The Eagles also won the 1977 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year for “Hotel California”  in 1978.

The lyrics describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” On the surface, it tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appears inviting and tempting. The song is an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it “our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”[ and later reiterated “it’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.”

Freedom is Not Free

This is a continuation of our Series of California Missions. Shot on Memorial Day from the beautiful back Garden at The King of Missions in Oceanside. This is appropriate for Independence Day…and a reminder that Freedom is Not Free!

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.  After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with  Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier,  John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

The Wishing Well

This was shot in the early morning in The Garden of Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California. We tried to capture a different view by focussing on the reflection of the statue of St. Francis on the surface of The Wishing Well. Now a bit about St. Francis!

St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan order of mendicant monks to which Father Serra belonged. Born and baptized as Giovanni de Bernardone approximately in 1182, as a youth he interested himself in games and parties, but forsake this carefree life after repeated visions and after renouncing his father’s mercantile way of life took vows of poverty. One of his visions at St. Damian’s Church near his home in Assisi was of an icon of Jesus Christ telling him to repair His house, which was in disrepair. Starting with St. Damian’s, rebuilding churches became a passion of St. Francis.

Some of the most popular stories about St. Francis concerns his love for animals. He and his followers would go from town to town, their preaching drawing larger and larger crowds. Once, during his travels, he stopped on his way to preach to birds, explaining to them that God provided them food, trees in which to nest and plumage, for which they were expected to do nothing in return except to love God.


Fray Junipero Serra

There's a Lady Bug on my Head!

This continues our examination of The Missions of California. We started at the Oldest (this one) and will proceed up the West Coast of California, following El Camino Real. This is a statue of Father Serra, known today as the “Apostle of California”

Father Serra lead the establishment of the Franciscan missions in California. Spanish Franciscan priest, explorer and colonizer of California where he was the
founder of the Missions of California and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in September 1988.

Serra joined the expedition of Don Gaspar de Pórtola, ordered by the Spanish king to explore and occupy new territory. He reached San Diego on June
27, 1769 and founded there the first mission. From San Diego the party journeyed northward and in April, 1770 Serra founded San Carlos Borromeo at Carmel, the second mission. In his fifteen years as padre president, he established nine of his 21 missions,  each a one-day walk apart (about 30 miles), and linked by a dirt road called “El Camino Real.”

Junípero Serra personally oversaw the planning, construction, and stuffing of each mission from his headquarters at Carmel. From Carmel he travelled on foot
to the other missions along the California coast, to supervise mission work and to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. Biographers estimate that, still
bothered by the infected leg, Serra walked more than 24,000 miles in California alone –more than the journeys of Marco Polo and Lewis and Clark combined. He kept with determination to his watchword, “Always to go forward and never to turn back.”

La Misión de San Luis, Rey de Francia

This is another from our ongoing study of Missions in California. We were pleasantly surprised when we asked if we could take pictures inside AND with a tripod. The answer was, “Of course, and please sign our Guest Book”. No Tripod Police here! The shot is from the back of the Mission, you may recall an earlier image of Madonna ans Candles from an adjacent alcove.

An early account of life at the Mission was written by one of its Native American converts, Luiseno Pablo Tac, in his work Indian Life and Customs at Mission San Luis Rey: A Record of California Mission Life by Pablo Tac, An Indian Neophyte (written circa 1835 in Rome, later edited and translated in 1958 by Minna Hewes and Gordon Hewes). In his book, Tac lamented the rapid population decline of the Luiseno, of his people: On June 13, 1798 the mission was found or built:

In Quechla not long ago there were 5,000 souls, with all their neighboring lands. Through a sickness that came to California 2,000 souls died, and 3,000 were left.

The Mission-born, Franciscan-educated Tac noted that his people initially attempted to bar the Spaniards from invading their Southern California lands.

When the foreigners approached, “…the chief stood up…and met them,” demanding, “…what are you looking for? Leave our Country!”

Pablo Tac went on to describe the preferential conditions and treatment the padres received:

In the mission of San Luis Rey de Francia the Fernandiño father is like a king. He has his pages, alcaldes, majordomos, musicians, soldiers, gardens, ranchos, livestock….


Mission Bells

This is a view from the front of  Mission San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego and  early on a Memorial Day.

Of note here are The Mission Bells. Bells were vitally important to daily life at any mission. The bells were rung at mealtimes, to call the Mission residents to work and to religious services, during births and funerals, to signal the approach of a ship or returning missionary, and at other times; novices were instructed in the intricate rituals associated with ringing the mission bells. This mission had five bells.

The Mission San Diego was primarily supported from lands included in a Spanish royal land grant, encompassing roughly the eastern third of the current City of San Diego, as well as most of the cities of La Mesa and Lemon Grove. While not exact, its boundaries are roughly Interstate 805, Miramar Road, Route 125, Skyline Drive and Division Street. Boundary Street  lies directly on one portion of the boundary and draws its name from it. This is also known as Mission Valley.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

This is an inside Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Oceanside, California. We were allowed to bring a tripod (after asking) and were encouraged to take as many pictures as we liked. Wow! Some Missions in CA do not have the No-Tripod Police!  Shooting in a dark space like this requires a tripod and long exposure time. We used a remote shutter trigger to avoid any camera shake during the shot.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, also known as Mission San Luis Rey or San Luis Rey Mission Church, was founded on June 13, 1798 in coastal Las Californias, in the present day city of Oceanside, California. The local Quechnajuichom Native American tribe became known as the Luiseno Mission Indians, after the Mission’s ‘Luis’.

The original name, La Misión de San Luis, Rey de Francia (The Mission of Saint Louis, King of France) was named for King Louis IX of France.  It’s ‘nickname’ was “King of the Missions” It was founded by padre Fermin Lasuen on June 13, 1798, the eighteenth of the twenty-one Spanish Missions of California built in the upper Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Espagna. At its prime the Mission San Luis Rey’s structures and services compound covered almost 6 acres (24,000 m2), making it one of the largest of the missions!

A Funeral and a Wedding

This was shot in the back courtyard garden at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California. An interesting fact: this mission is often called “The Plymouth Rock of the West”. The first seeds of agriculture were planted at this mission which laid the foundation for the great agricultural state that California is today.

Now about the white calla lily!  Like most flowers, the calla lily has a symbolic meaning. White calla lilies are a symbol of magnificent beauty and innocence.  The white calla lily has also a significant religious meaning. It is believed that the white calla lily is a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection, as the shape of the blooms bear a resemblance of trumpets, and the trumpets stand for victory; often the white calla lily was seen as the flower of the Archangel Gabriel.

It is also, ironically,  associated with both weddings and funerals.  The calla lily is symbolic of marriage and purity because of its white color and its trumpet-like shape, similar to a woman’s shape.  It is also  the symbol of rebirth and resurrection; therefore, it is widely used in funeral  arrangements and planted in cemeteries.

Here we have caught both meanings – special!

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

The First and Oldest

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.