Old Mission San Juan Bautista...
...began with a group of leather-jacketed soldiers and a few
Native Americans watching a tonsured Franciscan priest raise
his eyes and hands toward the sky...
"In the name of our blessed Father, and the saint whose
feast we commemorate today, St. John the Baptist..."
The day was June 24, 1797, a Saturday, and the priest was Fr.
Fermin de Lasuen, Presidente of the California Missions successor
to Blessed Junipero Serra. This mission was one of four established
by Fr. Lasuen in the summer of 1797 and the fifteenth of the
twenty-one missions in Alta, California.
Construction began almost immediately under the care of Fathers
Jose Manuel de Martiarena and Pedro Martinez. By Christmas,
because of the friendly and
cooperative indigenous people, not only was there an adobe
church built but also a grainary, barracks, a monastery, and
some adobe houses...
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