Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá

I was born and raised Catholic. This post isn’t entirely about the depths of my faith, but as a practicing Catholic, I have inherited a tradition that’s been passed on from one generation to another. Over the years, going to mass on my actual birthday has always been a top priority in my to-do’s list. For my birthday this year, Roan took me to one of the oldest churches, if not in the world, here in San Diego.

Roan had been telling me about the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, and thought going there for thanksgiving mass on my birthday was perfect timing. The first mass on a weekday starts at seven in the morning, so we gave ourselves at least half an hour to get there. he odds were in our favor because we arrived just in time.

“Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá was the first of the 21 great California Missions, which also marked the birthplace of Christianity in the west coast of the United States. It was California’s first Mission Church.”

— Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá (www.missionsandiego.org)

Granted that the church is not as big as you would expect from a typical basilica, there were only a few attendees that morning. We were the only young ones there, which reminded me so much of home. I used to go to morning masses in the Philippines, and I always saw the same familiar faces every time. Weekday masses are shorter, too, which make them convenient for those who attend mass before going to work.
I know these photos don’t do justice, but if you look closely, you will see that the interior of this church has a really interesting charm. I couldn’t stop staring at the details of its architecture and design, and try to imagine how many generations have had the pleasure of appreciating its beauty. I mean, when was the last time you’ve seen a pulpit like that? It kind of reminded me of the history of my Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas, which was established during the Spanish invasion in the Philippines.

There wasn’t much to discover around the area (at least that’s what we knew), but religious sculptures and plaques that bear the history of the church can be found right outside the hallway. Quite honestly, neither I nor Roan expected to find a historical place such as this church in a neighborhood that’s been developed over time.

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