Mission San José Church Page 1

The Church is a visual delight. Plan on spending awhile if you intend to see all the examples of mission-era art. The interior of the reconstructed Church appears much like it did during the years 1833-1840. As you look at the walls notice that they vary from 4 to 5 feet thick; typical of mission construction for both structural integrity and to provide thermal insulation. Note that the wood used in the reconstruction was given a hand-hewn look using an adze to take irregular pieces out of it. Now, on with the tour…

Below you should see a rotating panorama of the complete inside of the Mission Church. You should be able to click on the panorama to stop the rotation at any point and then drag the mouse left, right, up, or down to see any specific area. If you have a mouse wheel, it should be able to be used to zoom in and out. If one or more of these behaviors does not work click on the full screen icon (top right corner) and try the behavior again. If you are at full screen, press the ESCape key to have the panorama return to this page.

[pano file=”https://missiontour.org/wp/panoramas/sanjose/church/panorama.html”]

We’ll start the tour of the Church with the main altar and two side altars.

Main Altar

The main altar and reredos behind are brilliantly colored. Various paintings and statues span a wide time period. Below is a full view of the altar and below that are close-up photos of various sections of the reredos. Note that the silver candle holders are actually wood that is painted silver.

Main Altar
Picture taken 12:18pm 22 Feb 2012

Details…

Altar Top
Picture taken 12:19pm 22 Feb 2012
At the top left of the reredos is a painting of the Holy Family. Left Altar Top
Picture taken 12:21pm 22 Feb 2012
On the right top is a painting of Christ on the Cross. Altar Right Top
Picture taken 12:21pm 22 Feb 2012
In the middle is a carving representing God the Father and the Holy Spirit above a painting of Christ. Altar Middle Top
Picture taken 12:21pm 22 Feb 2012
From top to bottom in the center of the reredos are…A painting of Christ. Altar Center Top Picture
Picture taken 12:20pm 22 Feb 2012
A status of Saint Joseph, patron of the Mission. This statue is of Spanish origin dating from the 15th century. St. Joseph
Picture taken 12:20pm 22 Feb 2012
Below that is a statue of Mary that was carved in Mexico in the 18th century. Mary
Picture taken 12:22pm 22 Feb 2012
Cherubs flank the altar to the left and right with the gilt tabernacle in the center just under the statue of Mary.
Left Cherub
Picture taken 12:25pm 22 Feb 2012
Right Cherub
Picture taken 12:25pm 22 Feb 2012
Tabernacle
Picture taken 12:23pm 22 Feb 2012
As seen in many missions, the Sanctus bells are mounted on a wheel which was rotated at sacred moments in the Mass to cause the bells to ring. Sanctus Bells
Picture taken 12:23pm 22 Feb 2012

Altar Nearest the Entrance

The altar nearest to, and across from, the Church’s rear entrance represents Martyrdom.

Side Altar Near Entrance
Picture taken 12:09pm 22 Feb 2012

At the top of this altar is a painting of Mary with the infant Jesus; below that is a statue of the scourged Christ as he was presented by Pontius Pilate to the crowd. You’ll note that this statue is clothed. This type of presentation was an old Spanish custom; the torso is only roughtly carved out and then adorned with clothing. This statue is believed to have survived the 1868 earthquake.

Top of Side Altar
Picture taken 12:09pm 22 Feb 2012
Mary and Christ Child
Picture taken 12:09pm 22 Feb 2012
Christ Scourged
Picture taken 12:09pm 22 Feb 2012

Under the statue of Christ are relics of Roman martyrs and a nail said to contain within its hollow center filings from a nail of the true cross.

Relics
Picture taken 12:10pm 22 Feb 2012

Altar Closest to the Sanctuary

This altar features a polychrome statue of St. Bonaventure, circa 1808. This statue, like the Christ statue above, is believed to have survived the 1868 earthquake. It is topped by a dove representing the Holy Spirit and the tabernacle door is a 17th century piece that came from Guatemala.

Second Side Altar
Picture taken 12:15pm 22 Feb 2012

Side Altar Top
Picture taken 12:16pm 22 Feb 2012
St. Bonaventure
Picture taken 12:16pm 22 Feb 2012
Side Altar Tabernacle
Picture taken 12:17pm 22 Feb 2012

That’s a summary of the three altars in the main Church. There is considerably more art to see however…