Religion & Spirituality

Father Junipero Serra (1713 – 1784), established Mission San Juan Capistrano on November 1, 1776, over 230 years ago. Like the other missions in California, Mission San Juan Capistrano was established to spread the Catholic faith. Over the last 200 years, Mission San Juan Capistrano has continued to serve its Catholic community. Although founded in the Catholic tradition, the site itself brings a sense of peace and deep spirituality to visitors of all faith traditions.

The Mission heart, or spiritual center, is located in the Serra Chapel, which dates back to the 1780s and where the Eucharist has been celebrated daily.  As California’s only chapel still standing where soon-to-be Saint Serra celebrated Mass, it is the most historically significant church visited by millions.  The Serra Chapel houses memories from generations past, present, and future.


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Father Junipero Serra (1713 – 1784) was founder of the first nine of the 21 California missions including Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776.  A man of uncompromised optimism and zeal, Father Serra played a significant role in establishing the mission system and laying a foundation for what would become the state of California.

Pope Francis will canonize Father Serra in the fall of 2015, and it is our hope that he will visit Mission San Juan Capistrano in this historic year, a place built under the soon-to-be saint’s leadership.

Sign our petition online for Pope Francis to visit the Mission in 2015!