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Parish ChurchExpand
Picture taken 11:36am 17 Feb 2012

The San Rafael parish church has become a landmark for the city. While you are at the Mission be sure to step over and see the church; particularly if you like stained glass windows.

The statue of the Angel Saint Rafael appears to be blessing the entire city from the hill where the church sits above the Mission (which you can see in front in the picture on the left).

Angel RafaelExpand
Picture taken 11:37am
17 Feb 2012

Interior of the Church

Inside Parish ChurchExpand
Picture taken 4:32pm 18 Feb 2012
The church is larger inside than it looks from the street. There is a long nave leading up to an altar that allows services to be seen from three sides. A large cross dominates the back wall. Altar AreaExpand
Picture taken 4:32pm 18 Feb 2012

Cross CloseupExpand
Picture taken 11:06am 17 Feb 2012

Side AltarExpand
Picture taken 11:10am 17 Feb 2012
There are also side altars off the main church, including one to the side of the main altar by the cross. Side AltarExpand
Picture taken 11:13am 17 Feb 2012

And, don't forget to walk up toward the front of the church and then turn around and look back. The small stained glass window with a Moorish influence to its design can be seen through the choir loft.

Choir loft windowExpand
Picture taken 11:04am 17 Feb 2012

Stained Glass Windows

The parish church has a nice collection of stained glass windows. Some are individual panes about an individual. Others are dedicated to a particular verse in the bible. Taken as a whole, the larger windows depict the life of Christ. Click on any one of the windows below and see an expanded version where you can move between them or just start a slide show.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Matthew
Matthew
Mark
Mark
Luke
Luke
John
John
Other Saints and Scenes (The lighter five panes are in a back chapel to the side of the altar.)
Keys to Kingdom
Kingdom Keys
Jerome
Jerome
Augustine
Augustine
Ambrose
Ambrose
Gregory
Gregory
Mary & Jesus
Mary & Jesus
Isaac Obeys
Isaac obeys
David
Young David
Samuel
Samuel
Moses
Infant Moses
Biblical Scenes (Seen in the right order, these form the story of the life of Jesus.)
Take My Body
Take My Body
As You Will
As You Will
It Is Done
It Is Done
He Has Risen
He Has Risen
Simon Blessed Them
Simon Blessed Them
Word Made Flesh
Word Made Flesh
Hail Full of Grace
Hail Full of Grace
Ave Maria
Ave Maria
Ascension
Ascension
Behold My Father
Behold My Father
Pictures taken 11:15am 17 Feb 2012

Future Plans

As of 2012 the parish was running "The Campaign for Saint Rafael" which has the goal of remaking the area in front of the church so it is more visitor friendly. At present, the front area is not directly accessible by the handicapped and even for the able, the inclined ground can be difficult to navigate. Here is how they hope to change the front...

New AreaExpand
Picture from the Campaign Flyer

 

California Landmark

The California landmark sign for this Mission is not at the Mission itself but, instead, along U.S. 101 at the Northeast corner of Merrydale and Southbound 101 at the San Pedro Road offramp. It was placed there during the days when landmarks were placed along the road to aid travelers. While decades ago, a Mission San Rafael pastor asked that the sign be moved, that continues to be a background State Government task.

San Rafael Landmark Sign
Photo courtesy of Donald Laird http://www.sonic.net/~laird/landmarks/counties/200-299/220.html

...and it reads...

San Rafael Arcángel Mission

One and a half miles southwest was the San Rafael Arcángel Mission, established in 1817 by the Franciscans. This was the twenteth in the chain of 21 California Missions. After the "Decress of Secularization" in 1834, the buildings gradually fell into ruin. Reconstruction of the Mission on the original site took place in 1949.

State Registered Landmark No. 220

Marker placed by California Centennials Commission in cooperation with Marin County Historical Society.
Dedicated October 24, 1950

Stop

That's the end of the tour. Thank you. Please visit the other missions.

 

Navigation for Mission San Rafael Arcángel:

Mission Home :: History :: Museum :: Church Exterior :: Church Interior :: Parish Church

 


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Copyright © 2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!