Sunday, July 18, 2010

San Juan Capistrano

We were in Capistrano again yesterday. Two or three times a year we drive down to eat President Nixon's favourite meal at El Adobe (no, not cottage cheese and ketchup; be serious. It was beans and rice, chili relleno, chicken enchilada, and a beef taco.), to visit the Mission again and take more photographs from some different angles, and to make a visit to the new basilica which has to be the most beautiful purpose-built-for-the-Novus-Ordo church on the planet (possibly the only one), and to lament how much Capistrano has changed from my youth.

The meal, as always, was wonderful. The mission was still beautiful. But. The Disneylandification continues apace. Yes, the improvements are real improvements. The restorations are, indeed, necessary to keep it from melting away. Adobe is, after all, mud. But the sense of being in a real, working parish is gone. The parish grammar school used to be right across the quadrangle from the Serra chapel.

Never mind. Probably just grumpy old nostalgia speaking. My perennial lament that anything at all has ever changed from when I was a boy.

In any event, evening Mass was being said in the new basilica when we got round to it. Not good for visiting or picture-taking. And the Serra chapel was also in use for a wedding anniversary Mass.

Speaking of picture-taking, I forgot the decent camera. These were done with the camera phone. Not bad, considering. This shot and the next two are of the ruins of the old basilica which collapsed in a massive earthquake in eighteen aught something. I forget exactly. You could look it up. You could also click on any of these and make them much larger. Probably too large.

Mission bells. There are some bells in a bell tower around the corner on the other side of the Serra chapel but these are earlier says the little sign.

One of the friar's cells. "Reconstructed" isn't the word I'm looking for here. The cell is original. But the furniture is period furniture of the sort that would have been typical for the time and place. There's a word for that and it isn't coming to mind.

The east side of the cloister. I think I mean east. Directions aren't my strong suit.

Somewhat anachronistically, St Therese and one of her devotees. I couldn't quite manage a piping reference but I thought I did very well working a Carmelite one into an 18th century Franciscan mission post.