MissionTour Logo Visual Tour Logo

Mission Church

blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank
- -
- Home - Mission Related Topics - Bookstore - E-mail - -
- - - - -

Navigation for San Juan Bautista:

Tour Map

Below you should see a rotating panorama of the complete inside of the Mission Church. You should be able to click on the panorama to stop the rotation at any point and then drag the mouse left, right, up, or down to see any specific area. If you have a mouse wheel, it should be able to be used to zoom in and out. If one or more of these behaviors does not work click on the full screen icon (top right corner) and try the behavior again. If you are at full screen, press the ESCape key to have the panorama return to this page.

Panorama taken 2/24/2012 and created with PTGui panorama photo software

When you enter this Church after visiting other missions you are immediately struck by its large size. With three naves it is the largest (widest) of all the mission churches. The cornerstone for this Church was laid in June of 1803 and the Church was dedicated 23 June 1812.

Long view inside Church
Picture taken 11:10am 7 June 2004

The Bapistry is the first room you notice as you enter from the rear of the Church. Note, in particular, the artwork as well as the representation of the Holy Spirit (the dove) hanging above the font.
Bapistry
Picture taken 10:55am 7 June 2004
Bapistry Dove
Picture taken 10:55am
7 June 2004
Wall painting
Picture taken 11:15am
7 June 2004
As you make your way down the Church toward the front be certain to look to all sides. Near the entrance at the rear is the artwork to the left as well as the decorated Holy Water holder. A little further down you find this cross and area for praying.
Side cross
Picture taken 11:15am 7 June 2004
Pulpit
Picture taken 11:00am
7 June 2004

About half way down the Church stop and examine the decorated pulpit. These are original colors. Walk around behind the pulpit to see the artwork attached to the stairs leading up to the pulpit.

It's a good idea in this Church to walk around everything as there are wonderful colors and artwork everywhere! Much of this was created by the American sailor Thomas Doak who decorated the Church interior for room and board.

Painting on pulpit
Picture taken 11:15am 7 June 2004

That leads us to the main feature of the Church; one you can't help but notice even when you enter at the rear: the altar. Each nave has an altar but the star display is that created by Doak; the reredos and six statues that date from the 1816 time period. Overviews of the three altars are shown here...

Left Nave Altar
Left Nave Altar
Picture taken 11:00am 7 June 2004
Main Altar
Center Altar
Picture taken 11:10am 7 June 2004
Right Nave Altar
Right Nave Altar
Picture taken 11:00am 7 June 2004

And, closer views of the identified six statues are shown here in the order shown on the altar...

St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony of Padua
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004
St. Dominic de Guzman
St. Dominic de Guzman
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004
St. Isadore of Madrid
St. Isadore of Madrid
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004
St. Pascal Baylon
St. Pascal Baylon
Picture taken 11:10am
7 June 2004

St. John the Baptist, being the patron Saint of the Mission, gets the place of honor just above the altar. The other Saints were selected for various reasons. St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan who left his order, entered the Friars Minor and, after being shipwrecked, became a great evangelizer. He was beloved and has become the patron for American Indians. St. Francis of Assisi was founder of the Franciscan Order and patron of animals. St. Isidore of Madrid is the patron of farmers. St. Pascal Baylon is known for his charity to the poor and afflicted, and his unfailing courtesy and humility were remarkable even by Franciscan standards. St. Dominic de Guzman founded the Dominican order. You might be curious why a Dominican gets the top place of honor. Legend says that Dominic had a vision of a beggar who would do great things for the faith. The next day Dominic met a beggar, embraced him and said, "You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us." The beggar was Saint Francis of Assisi. The two are known to have worked closely together. [Note: At one time a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe hung over the altar covering the niche where St. Dominic now sits. That painting was later moved to the rear of the Church and finally moved again into the restored first Mission which was renamed The Guadalupe Chapel. The chapel was re-dedicated 24 June 1997 on the bicenntennial of the founding of the Mission.]

Another feature of the altar is its orientation. It's said that at sunrise on the Winter solstice (usually 21 or 22 December depending on the year) a beam of light from the rising sun enters the front Church window and hits the altar directly; the only day of the year when this happens. (Some day I may travel back there just to see.)

Finally, approach the altar and look to the left behind the speaker's platform. There you will see the resting place of Padre Estévan Tápis.
Padre Tapis Grave
Picture taken 11:10am 7 June 2004
Castro Grave
Picture taken 11:20am
7 June 2004

And, speaking of resting places, on your way out keep looking down. You will find a number of different gravesites in the Church itself.

Plus, keep a lookout for animal tracks in the tiles. It's said that the tiles were left outside to dry and overnight animals tracked over them and the tiles with tracks were just used in the Church instead of being thrown away.

Like this...

Rodriguez Grave
Picture taken 11:20am
7 June 2004
 
Paw print in tile
Picture taken 11:20am 7 June 2004
 

Now, head out the side door to the cemetery...Trail

Navigation for Mission San Juan Bautista:

Mission Home :: History :: External :: Museum :: Garden :: Church :: Cemetery


Please use the feedback link for questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2004 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!