The California Missions began in 1769, they mark the birthplace of Christianity in the far west of the New World.. Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was the first Franciscian Mission of the 21 missions built by Spain in California. It was built by Father Junipero Serra in San Diego and is one of the few that is still in use to the present time. Nicknamed the "Mother of Missions it houses an active Catholic parish and is a National Historic Landmark. (link http://missionsandiego.com/)
The present structure has been rebuilt many times on the site, the present structure was enlarged to accommodate the growing population. It is presently part of the Diocese of San Diego and staffed by secular priests.
July 19th & 20th the Mission holds it's anniversary celebration the "Festival of the Bells"
The festivities open on Saturday at 10 a.m, the 'Blessing of the Bells' take place at Noon with the ringing of all 5 Mission Bells including one that dates back to 1802. and dancing under stars goes from 6 - 9 p.m. On Sunday the anniversary Mass is at Noon, and 'the blessing of the animals' at 3:30 p.m. Both days admission is free, entertainment is on all day, an International Food Court is open and a Kids Fun Zone for the little ones.
Tours of the Mission can be arranged by calling the Parish Office (619) 283-7319 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is located at 10818 San Diego Mission Road,San Diego.