Mission La Purísima Church

Tour Map

Next we’ll explore the interior of the church. This is a copy of what the original church might have looked like. The original was abandoned after water runoff from the hill behind it undercut the structure. At that time the fixtures were moved to the chapel in the monastery which was then used as the church. The Mission reconstruction basically copied the chapel fixtures in larger form for the church. That’s why you’ll get a feeling of déjà vu when you see one after seeing the other.

The interior of the church is probably very close to what it was during the mission era. Many mission churches are currently used as active parishes and so have pews and modern altars. This church is closer to the original Mission with rough-textured walls and floors, simple stenciled wall decorations and few fixtures (people attending services stood, sat, or knelt on the floor during services with men to one side and women to the other).

Below is a picture toward the altar; below that a picture of the back wall of the church.

Interior of church
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Back wall of church
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

The altar is “standard” form with a tabernacle, saints in niches on the sides, and the patron saint (The Immaculate Concepción of Mary the Most Pure) featured over the altar.

Altar
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

A pulpit (ambo) stands next to the altar.

Pulpit
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Do come up to the altar and examine it closely. There, in addition to the features seen above, you’ll also see examples of instruments (in this case a clapper that plays a sequence when the bottom axle is turned–much like a music box). Also, in the floor of the altar you will see the grave of Padre Mariano Payeras an important person in mission history.

Clapper
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Payeras grave
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

 The back of the church contains the baptistery and choir loft. Pictures believed to be from the mission era adorn the walls.

Choir loft
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Picture
Picture taken 2:30pm 21 Jul 2001

 

Finally, don’t forget to exit the church and enter the door closest to the cemetery. This is the sacristy where the padres prepared prior to Mass. There are a few artifacts there including this chest which is said to date from 1799. [Please don’t touch it even though it looks inviting and available.]

1799 chest
Picture taken 2:40pm 21 Jul 2001