Archive for the ‘Monterey’ Category

Feliz Aniversario

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

On this date in 1770, Father Junipero Serra celebrated the first Mass with an exploratory band of soldiers at Monterey Bay, two days after he arrived by boat. The spot shortly became the Presidio then city of Monterey. Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo in nearby Carmel, the second mission in Alta California after San Diego de Alcala. San Carlos became his headquarters, the base from which he founded seven more missions, criss-crossing the land on the royal road, El Camino Real, that links them:

  • 1771 – San Antonio de Padua
  • 1771 – San Gabriel Arcangel
  • 1772 – San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
  • 1776 – San Francisco de Asis
  • 1776 – San Juan Capistrano
  • 1777 – Santa Clara de Asis
  • 1782 – San Buenaventura

Jane Stanford erected a monument to Serra at the Monterey Presidio, pictured above. This monument was placed in 1891, the same year she and Leland Stanford founded Stanford University. Stanford’s campus draws deeply from the California Mission tradition in its architecture and street names. Physically it is situated between El Camino Real and Junipero Serra Boulevard. I believe the Stanfords must have identified with the little Padre Presidente from Mallorca, admiring his piety, service, and dedication.

Junipero Serra died in Carmel at the age of 70 and is buried there today. Carmel was his final home, so his arrival and first Mass at Monterey on June 3, 1770 was especially significant. In many ways it was the start of a new life for him in Northern California.

This date is significant to me also as it’s the day I married my lovely wife, Paulette. Our wedding was June 3, 1995—225 years after Junipero Serra’s Monterey Mass. That makes today our 15th anniversary. I’m deeply grateful to her for all the support and understanding she’s given me, especially since I undertook this All Camino project last year and let it lead me all kinds of crazy directions. She’s been very kind about keeping the eye-rolls to a discreet minimum every time I come running to her with some obscure map or historical tidbit or duplicate book purchase. And as she’s one of my most faithful readers, this is for her: Happy anniversary, Honey! I love you!