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Church Exterior

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As pointed out on the history page, the original San Rafael Mission church was completely destroyed after Secularization and a new parish church built on the Mission site. The Mission reconstruction that you see here is basically very much a guess at the original structure and, if you compare this layout with the picture on the wall of the museum you will note that here the building wing extends to the left of the church while in the picture it extends to the right (what would be into the street). This, and many other details, point out the amount of guessing that went into reconstruction of this Mission. There are a number of interesting things outside the MIssion to visit. Their location is shown in the picture below as a general reference and map.

External ViewExpand
Picture taken 11:36am 17 Feb 2012

Front of the Church

The Mission bells presently hanging on a frame in front of the Mission are replicas of the bells that had been hanging there in years past and during the mission era. Those original bells are now in the museum. The replicas, however, are excellent and the bells and frame probably look similar to what you would have seen back when the Mission was active. The frame was more likely timbers tied together rather than lumber bolted together.

Bell SupportExpand
Picture taken 2:15pm 18 Feb 2012
Replica of a bell obtained in 1833 by either Father Estenga or Father Mercado.
1833 Bell ReplicaExpand
Picture taken 2:15pm 18 Feb 2012
Replica of an iron-whaling bell that dates from 1831 and was acquired in 1833 by either Father Estanega or Father Mercado.
Whaler Bell ReplicaExpand
Picture taken 2:15pm 18 Feb 2012
Replica of the oldest of the Mission bells. It dates from 1820 and was made for the asistencia of San Rafael. It was hung by Padre Amorós.
Original Bell ReplicaExpand
Picture taken 2:15pm 18 Feb 2012
A plaque that describes the origin of the Mission is embedded into the front of the Mission to the right of the door.
Picture taken 10:54am 29 Aug 2003

It reads...

Viva Jesus!

"On the 14th of December 1817 Fra Ramon Abella, Narciso Duran, Luis Gil and I planted and blessed with solemn ceremonies the Holy Cross at the time of vespers, and on this day Holy Mass was sung with music te deum and the word of God was announced in both languages. In the afternoon there were 26 baptisms of children; we have about 200 for instructions."

Report of Vicente de Sarria, Prefecto to Mariano Payeras, Presidente.

Just below that and a bit to the right is the cornerstone.

Picture taken 10:50am 17 Feb 2012

Now we need to go down the steps to the street. Turn right for a memorial plaque built into the rocks holding up the hand rail.
Memorial PlaqueExpand
Picture taken 10:48am 29 Aug 2003

In reads...

In memory of the founders of
San Rafael Archangel
Dec 14, 1817.
Presented by
Marinita Parlor No 198
N.D.G.W. at the Serra
Sesquicentennial celebration
Oct. 28, 1934.

Now turn around and head down the side of the Church.

Side of the Church

Buried somewhere on the Mission grounds, possibly under the small parking lot behind the rectory, is the body of the namesake for Marin County; a native Miwok Indian named Huicmuse. He was born in 1781 and baptized "Marino" at Mission Dolores. He was San Rafael's first alcalde (overseer). His life is not well known but his name is. General Mariano Vallejo proposed this Miwok leader as the namesake for Marin County. (From a brochure published by the Mission San Rafael Arcangel Preservation Foundation.)

The large boulder that you see just past the front of the Church has a plaque dedicated to this individual.

The plaque reads...

Indian Warrior
Baptized by Franciscan fathers,
a ferryman on the San Francisco bay,
he became known as
(the sailor)
Died about 1835
Presented by El Marinero Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution
December 5, 1959

Marin RockExpand
Picture taken 10:53am 17 Feb 2012
Hannon StatueExpand
Picture taken 10:52am 17 Feb 2012

The Hannon statue of Blessed Serra is next in line on the side of the Mission church, facing the street. It's difficult to reach to touch his toe for luck.

Remember as you look at the statue that it is a life-sized representation of Blessed Serra.

Picture taken 10:54am 17 Feb 2012

Now proceed further down the Church and toward the end of the Church you will find a large wooden cross that represents the cross erected to establish the Mission.

On the street side is one of the El Camino Real bells you see along Highway 101 and in other significant locations.

El Camino Real BellExpand
Picture taken 10:54am 17 Feb 2012

Now let's go inside the Church...Trail

Navigation for Mission San Rafael Arcángel:

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

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Copyright © 2003-2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!