Since their use in the first services of the Historic Serra Chapel, the processional silver cross and candlesticks have played an important role in the history and community of Mission San Juan Capistrano.  When the Mission buildings fell into disrepair in the late 1800s, the community stepped forward to house the processional items and in the early spring of 2009 this story expanded.

Funding from generous Mission supporters made it possible for much needed conservation of a historic processional silver cross and candlesticks. Listed as part of the original inventory, these significant silver objects have been used for religious services since the Mission’s founding.

Annual Procession The image to the left shows the three silver pieces being used in an annual procession through the City of San Juan Capistrano to the historic cemetery.

Years of constant use left the pieces with numerous deformations, tears, and metal losses. The cumulative damage resulted in the destabilization of the urn components and caused a pronounced side-to-side movement to develop in each of the processional items.

Processional Cross Before Treatment

The before treatment image on the left shows the upper portion of the processional cross, documents the severity of damage, and the darkened, tarnished surfaces.

Before Treatment  

Processional Cross Damage

The photo on the left shows a close-up of the processional cross, and is illustrative of the type of damage incurred by these pieces.

Before Treatment  

A conservation strategy for the artifacts was devised to stabilize moving components and tears. The need for specialized equipment to gently manipulate and align deformed components required the involvement of Griswold Conservation Associated, a private conservation firm. While in their care, the silver was also mildly cleaned and polished to restore its former luster.

Cross During Cleaning

Cross After Cleaning

Cross During Cleaning Cross After Cleaning

Historic Serra Chapel

After six weeks of work, Mission staff returned the pieces to the front of the Historic Serra Chapel in February of 2009.  At their current position, the restored silver pieces are a testament to the community’s important connections with the Mission’s past, present and future.  

Pictured above, the conserved processional pieces restored to the Serra Chapel.


Donate Online

By mail, download donation form and mail with your gift:

Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Funds
26801 Ortega Hwy
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

For questions, please call Barb Beier at (949) 234-1323 or email bbeier@missionsjc.com
Mission San Juan Capistrano
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