Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano

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This article is about the present-day parish church and building. For the Spanish mission, see Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano
Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano 01.jpg
Basic information
Location 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California
Affiliation Roman Catholic Church
Territory Diocese of Orange
Year consecrated 1987
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica
National shrine
Leadership Rev. Msgr. Arthur Holquin, Pastor
Website www.missionparish.org
Architectural description
Architect(s) John Bartlett
Architectural style Mission Revival
Completed 1986
Dome(s) 1
Dome height (outer) 85 feet (26 m)
Spire(s) 1
Spire height 104 feet (32 m)
The "Grand Retablo" with the Trinity at top center, Bl. Junipero Serra top left, St. Kateri Tekakwitha top right, St. Francis bottom right, St. Joseph bottom left and Our Lady of Guadalupe bottom center
Inside the basilica

Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano is a church building and parish of the Roman Catholic Church in San Juan Capistrano, California, United States. Part of the Diocese of Orange, the church opened in 1986 and is located just northwest of Mission San Juan Capistrano. The church's design is patterned after the Mission's original stone church, which was destroyed in an 1812 earthquake. It was designed by architect John Bartlett and built by Joseph Byron, Jr. of Alex Sutherland Construction. The interior was designed by historian Norman Neuerberg, who painted much of the decorative and sacred art which adorns the walls. The church was granted the status of minor basilica in 2000, and that of national shrine in 2003.

A prominent feature of the basilica is the Grand retablo, a 42-foot-high (13 m), 30-foot-wide (9.1 m), 16-ton altar-backing carved in cedar and covered in gold leaf which is stylistically reminiscent of 17th- and 18th-century Spanish colonial and Mexican colonial retablos.[1][2][3] The retablo's focal point is the Trinity, composed of the crucifix, God the Father depicted as an ancient partriarch, and the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove. Beneath the Trinity is Our Lady of Guadalupe. Four saints included on the retablo are Saint Francis of Assisi - patron of the mission's founding order, Saint Joseph, Blessed Junípero Serra - the mission's founder, and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha - significant for the area's Indian population.[2] The Retablo was designed and created by 84 artisans in numerous parts at the Talleres de Arte Granda in Madrid, Spain.


  1. ^ IGNATIN, HEATHER Retablo draws crowds at Mission Basilica Orange County Register, April 19, 2007
  2. ^ a b Mission’s Grand Retablo en Route to San Juan Capistrano Mission San Juan Capistrano press release, Feb. 9, 2007
  3. ^ EMERY, SEAN and HEATHER IGNATIN Altarpiece debuts at mission Orange County Register March 20, 2007