In 1984, a modern church complex was constructed just north and west of the Mission compound and is now known as Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. Today, the mission compound serves as a museum, with the Serra Chapel within the compound serving as a chapel for the mission parish.
The mission was founded on All Saints’ Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order. Named for Giovanni da Capistrano, a 15th-century theologian and “warrior priest” who resided in the Abruzzo region of Italy, San Juan Capistrano has the distinction of being home to the oldest building in California still in use, a chapel built in 1782. Known alternately as “Serra’s Chapel” and “Father Serra’s Church,” it is the only extant structure where it has been documented that the padre Junipero Serra celebrated mass. One of the best known of the Alta California missions, and one of the few missions to have actually been founded twice—others being Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and Mission La Purísima Concepción. The site was originally consecrated on October 30, 1775, by Father Fermín Lasuén, but was quickly abandoned due to unrest among the indigenous population in San Diego.
Mission San Juan Capistrano Side Door Entrance, California
Mission San Juan Capistrano Altar, California
Mission San Juan Capistrano Nave, California
Mission San Juan Capistrano, California
Mission San Juan Capistrano Baptismal Font, California