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Mission Church

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Navigation for San Luis Rey de Francia:

Main Tour Map

You enter the Mission Church from Peyri Court (area #3 above). From the back, the long view of the Church looks very much like any other Church in the mission chain. Up close, however, you will find striking differences; largely in the area of the altar.

Inside of church
Picture taken 11:40am 22 Jul 2002

First, however, look to the back of the Church. The choirloft is original. The bapistry houses a font that is also original. It is made from hand-hammered copper and was used by Padre Peyri among others.

Choir loft
Picture taken 11:40am 22 Jul 2002

The statue in the baptistry depicts St. John the Baptist and dates from the 18th century.

Picture taken 11:40am 22 Jul 2002

Now make your way forward toward the altar. Note the 14 Stations of the Cross paintings. These are original and were saved when the Mission was secularized and brought back after the Mission was returned to the Church.

When you get to the altar you will see why this Church is so special: there are three altars and if you look at the plan of the Church from the top you will see a cross. Only two of the mission Churches were built in this form.

Standing in the middle and moving your head from left to right you might see a panorama much like this one.

Three altar pan
Picture taken 11:45am 22 Jul 2002

A closer look at the three altars is shown here. The central altar is on top and the left and right side altars are below.

Center Altar
Main Altar
Picture taken 11:45am 22 Jul 2002
Left Altar
Left Altar
Picture taken 11:45am 22 Jul 2002
Right Altar
Right Altar
Picture taken 11:45am 22 Jul 2002

The statue atop the center altar is Saint Louis IX, King of France. It replaces the original statue you saw in the museum. Note that the one on the altar has a crown; the one in the museum does not. The statue to the left of Saint Louis is Saint Michael (San Miguel) and the statue to the right is Saint Raphael (San Raphael). The main crucifix dates to the 18th century and was brought to the Mission from Mexico. The lower left statue is of Saint Joseph and the lower right statue is of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The side altars are devotion areas. The left side altar is dedicated to Christ and the statue is of Christ before the crucifixian. This statue has moveable joints and human hair. To the left is Saint Francis Xavier; to the right is Saint Anthony. The right side altar is presently dedicated to Saint Francis. To the left is a statue of the Virgin Mary (Madre de la Rosa); to the right a statue of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Picture taken 11:50am 22 Jul 2002
The painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe dates to 1793 and was brought to the Mission by Zacatecan friars in the 1890s.
The pulpit on the left side of the altar area is also original. It's said that a speaker in the pulpit requires no amplification to be heard through the Church because the acoustics are nearly flawless. (I didn't try it.[smile])
Picture taken
11:45am 22 Jul 2002

Finally, while at the altar area, don't forget to look straight up. This Church has a dome at the top; part of the Moorish design influence of the time.

Church dome
Picture taken 11:45am 22 Jul 2002

Now head back toward the area you entered but go across the church and...

Exit via the Marian Chapel Trail


Navigation for Mission San Luis Rey de Francia:

Mission Home :: History :: Map :: Museum :: Museum (cont) :: Gardens :: Church :: Madonna Chapel :: Cemetery :: Mission Front :: Barracks and Lavanderia :: Pala Asistencia :: Las Flores Asistencia

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Copyright © 2002 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!