San Francisco Basilica

As mentioned on the history page, the large Gothic church built next to the Mission was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. In 1913 construction of a replacement was begun and that was completed in 1918. That church was further remodeled in 1926 and in 1952 the Pope changed its name to the Basilica of Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores). This is the building you see today.

San Francisco Basilica Front

Picture taken 12:44pm 20 Feb 2012

Entering from the side and walking to the middle you see a spectacular nave and apse with a high dome…

San Francisco Basilica Nave and Apse

Picture taken 11:48am 20 Feb 2012

[Side note: If you look closely at the right side of the above picture you see a light and under the light is a man at the organ. Had an organ concert while I was taking these pictures and on talking with the organist I learned that the basilica organ is entirely electronic; no pipes or mechanical parts. It produced a beautiful sound and he told me that organists come from around the world to play it.]

A closer look at the sanctuary area shows three parts: left, right, and the main sanctuary…

San Francisco Basilica Left Side Altar

Picture taken 12:02pm 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Right Side Altar

Picture taken 11:51am 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Altar

Picture taken 11:50am 20 Feb 2012

Flanking the sanctuary to the left and right of the main altar area are two stands. The one on the left denotes the coat of arms for the diocese of San Francisco and the canopy on the right, being cloth, symbolizes that this church is a basilica (only a basilica can use a cloth canopy; wooden, fixed canopies are used in parish churches, if one is used at all — you see this distinction mainly in the various missions today).

San Francisco Basilica Coat of Arms

Picture taken 11:51am 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Canopy

Picture taken 11:51am 20 Feb 2012

Once you’ve seen the altar area turn around and look up. The basilica has a special collection of stained glass windows. Many of them represent the chain of missions and Saint Serra. Others, with largely orange backgrounds show angels and saints and one for Saint Francis. [Note: The orange windows are rather unique. If you have toured the mission at Sonoma you might have stopped at the California Missions Museum at the Cline Vineyards. If so, you would have seen a similar color window recovered from San Francisco.)

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Serra

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - La Purisima

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Palou

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Ventura - Santa Clara

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - San Gabriel - San Antonio

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - SJCapistrano - SLO

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Carmel - San Diego

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - San Rafael - Sonoma

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - San Luis Rey - Santa Inez

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - San MIguel - San Fernando

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - San Jose - San Juan Bautista

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Santa Barbara

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Soledad

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Santa Cruz

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Angels Blowing Horns

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - St Francis

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Stained Glass - Angels with Drums

Picture taken about Noon 20 Feb 2012

Continue your tour around the inside of the basilica for the various statues and art.

San Francisco Basilica Side Cross

Picture taken 12:06pm 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Statue by Door

Picture taken 12:06pm 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Lady of Guadalupe

Picture taken 12:08pm 20 Feb 2012

San Francisco Basilica Shell Stoup

Picture taken 12:09pm 20 Feb 2012