Mission San Luis Obispo Plaza

Tour Map

We’re going to start the tour from Mission Plaza. If you managed to park in the Mission parking lot then this will likely be the end of the tour for you.

Picture taken 2:15pm 8 Jul 2001

Walking along the plaza from Broad Street toward Chorro Street your first view of the Mission is the colonnade outside what used to be the padre’s quarters (now the parish hall and gift shop/museum). Take a close look at the columns. Square openings and round pillars are used. This is unique to this Mission. Also, note the level of the colonnade floor. That used to be ground level when the Mission was built.

Note: The tree in front of the mission that you see in many pictures here was taken down since they were taken. The roots were working their way into the mission foundation.

If you continue down to the bear fountain at Chorro you look up at the Hannon statue of Saint Serra and the cross that denotes the Mission. (Don’t forget to rub Saint Serra’s toe for luck.)

Picture taken 2:25pm 8 Jul 2001

Picture taken 2:20pm 8 Jul 2001

Picture taken
1:35pm 8 Jul 2001

Go up the stairs from the plaza to get to the church and museum. At the top of the stairs hang on to the handrail and look up. Note the mission bells (named, left to right: Sorrow, Angelus [Gloria], and Joy). Bells were important to the missions. [Side Note: In early Oct 2001 regular bell-ringing was suspended except for special occasions. A crack in the center bell (named “Angelus” [more properly called “Gloria” I’m told]) had worried caretakers and the bells were examined by a National Park Service bell expert. The cracks are not new but the Mission was leaning toward safety for the bells. More: 28 Oct 2001 the Los Angeles Times reported that Angelus would be replaced and moved to the museum and only the two smaller bells rung in the meantime. Finally: Shortly after the LA Times article, the crack was deemed to not be spreading and Pastor Fr. Jerry Maher directed bellringers to resume ringing all three bells regularly before Saturday evening and Sunday services as well as on special occasions.]

Picture taken 2:20pm 8 Jul 2001

Want to hear the bells? At the 2004 California Missions Studies Association conference concert two bell sequences were rung by Bell Ringer Matthew Herrea. The first is a performance of the traditional “Call to Worship.” The second is the Angelus [Gloria] bell being rung in the nine-ring Angelus pattern. I’ve linked them here (if the link doesn’t call up your sound program right click the link and save the file locally to play when you have the software)…

Call to Prayer Button
Call to Worship
(WMA format, 264K, 1:43 min)
Angelus Pattern
Angelus Pattern
(WMA format, 73.5K, 26 sec)

2005 Update

In 2005 the Mission put five new bells into service. They are shown here (starting from the left in this picture – note that the bell names are in honor of the first five Missions)…

SLO Bells
Picture taken 4:21pm 13 August 2006

Left to right: Carlos, Diego, Antonio, Gabriel, and Luis

The bells were blessed by the Bishop of Monterey (Most Reverend Sylvester D. Ryan, DD) 30 April 2005. They were first placed into service 3 May 2005 with the ringing of the Angelus pattern. Two days later on 5 May 2005 they rang the first Call to Worship pattern at a Mass celebrated by Father Derek Hughes.

A Festival of the Bells concert was held at the Mission 13 August 2006. The New World Baroque Orchestra played several pieces of music from the mission era and the local Salinan Indians participated in blessing the bells and performing traditional songs. The concert ended with a demonstration of several patterns and songs played on the new bells (see links below).

New World Baroque Orchestra
Picture taken 2:35pm 13 August 2006

Carlos (D-Pitch 26.56″ diameter
429 pounds)

Picture taken 2:25pm 13 August 2006
Diego (B-Pitch 31.25″ diameter
748 pounds

Picture taken 2:25pm 13 August 2006
Antonio (E-Pitch 23.63″ diameter
297 pounds)

Picture taken 2:25pm 13 August 2006
Gabriel (F#-Pitch 21.5″ diameter
224 pounds)

Picture taken 2:25pm 13 August 2006
Luis (A-Pitch 19.75″ diameter
158 pounds)

Picture taken 2:25pm 13 August 2006
Blessing of the people
Picture taken 3:20pm 13 August 2006
Indian children performing traditional songs
Indian Children
Picture taken 3:50pm 13 August 2006
Indian blessing of the bells
Indian Blessing
Picture taken 3:20pm 13 August 2006
Call to Worship Bell Pattern
Call to Worship Pattern
(WMA format, 250KB, 1:37 min)
Angelus Bell Pattern
Angelus Pattern
(WMA format, 233KB, 1:39 min)
De Profundis
De Profundis
(WMA format, 189KB, 1:11 min)
La Mariposa
La Mariposa – The Butterfly
(WMA format, 216KB, 1:23 min)
Sing of Mary
Sing of Mary
(WMA format, 241KB, 1:32 min)
Gloria Pattern
Gloria Pattern
(WMA format, 271KB, 1:45 min)

Before going into the church or museum take a walk around the upper plaza. There is a nice garden and small fountain there.

Picture taken 1:35pm 8 Jul 2001