We began our pilgrimage with a visit to Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. We drive on the highway that leads to the Mission frequently, but have never stopped there.
Mission San Luis Rey currently serves as a retreat center run by the Franciscan Friars from the Province of St. Barbara. It was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Francisco de LaSuen and named after St. Louis IX, King of France. It is often referred to as the "King of the Missions."
Because it was Good Friday, we were unable to tour the museum, but there was plenty to see on the Mission grounds. The church was massive and lavishly decorated.
The Mission's beautiful garden features the oldest pepper tree in California, which was a unique bit of trivia.
The Mission also houses a large cemetery.
Unfortunately, because this mission is a retreat center run by a religious order, liturgies are not always open to the public. However, the Mission has a sister parish, where you can attend Mass.
I have to say that when our pilgrimage had been completed, this ended up being one of my favorite Missions. I look forward to returning someday so that we can visit the museum.
Here is Family Pilgrimage Selfie #1:
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is located at 4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92057