Monday, July 20, 2015

California Missions Pilgrimage

Since my husband is was a 4th grade teacher and we're both California natives, we have talked about visiting all 21 California Missions for years.  Over the course of our marriage, we managed to visit Mission San Diego de Alcala, Mission San Juan Capistrano (our local Mission), Mission San Buenaventura, Mission La Purisima, Mission Santa Ines, Mission San Miguel, Mission San Francisco de Asis, Mission San Rafael, and Mission San Francisco Solano.

Since our oldest son will be entering 4th grade in the fall, we felt that this year would be the perfect opportunity to make our pilgrimage.  We were able to visit all 21 Missions over 8 days during Holy Week and Easter Week.

Day 1 (We live in Orange County, so we spent the night at home)

Day 2 (Holy Saturday)
  • Mission San Gabriel Arcangel
  • Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana
  • Mission San Buenaventura
  • Mission Santa Barbara

Day 3 (Easter Sunday)
  • Mission Santa Barbara (Mass)

Day 4 (Easter Monday)
  • Mission Santa Ines (Mass)
  • Mission La Purisima
  • Mission San Luis Obispo

Day 5 (Easter Tuesday)
  • Mission San Miguel Arcangel
  • Mission San Antonio de Padua
  • Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad

Day 6 (Easter Wednesday)
  • Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (AKA Mission Carmel) 
  • Mission San Juan Bautista
  • Mission Santa Cruz 

Day 7 (Easter Thursday)
  • Mission Santa Clara
  • Mission San Jose

Day 8 (Easter Friday)
  • Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mass)
  • Mission San Rafael Arcangel
  • Mission San Francisco Solano

All the Missions are about 45-60 minutes apart, so it was easy to visit 3 per day.  Most are active parishes, but two of them (Missions La Purisima and San Francisco Solano) are state parks.  The majority of them charge admission for the tour/museum.  However, at some missions, if you attend morning Mass, they will allow you to stay and tour the church and surrounding grounds without paying admission.

We also made sure to take a family photo at each Mission to document our trip.  Some turned out better than others.  =)

Our family at Mission San Juan Capistrano on Divine Mercy Sunday

As soon as we left the motel or campground in the morning, our family went into pilgrimage mode.  We drove in silence, talked as a family, and listened to Glory Stories or CDs from Lighthouse Catholic Media.  At every Mission, we prayed a pilgrimage prayer (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Apostle's Creed, and invoking the intercession of the Mission's patron saint).  Once we left the final Mission of the day, we reverted into road trip mode and listened to music and let the boys watch DVDs or play with the tablet as we drove to our destination for the night.  Throughout the trip, my husband read The Story of Junipero Serra: Brave Adventurer (Famous Lives) to the boys.

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