July 15, 2011

Pilgrimage to California includes missions, historic sites

San Francisco De Asis, also known as Mission Dolores, was rebuilt in a historic area of the city. This mission was originally built on the Bay, and served as an important naval base for the Spaniards to protect their colony from invaders. (Submitted photo)

San Francisco De Asis, also known as Mission Dolores, was rebuilt in a historic area of the city. This mission was originally built on the Bay, and served as an important naval base for the Spaniards to protect their colony from invaders. (Submitted photo)

Criterion staff report

Who was the “Apostle of California?”

To learn the answer, we recommend you “Go West.”

That could be the theme for an archdiocesan pilgrimage to California in late September.

The six-day trip will give Catholics an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Blessed Junípero Serra, a Franciscan friar known as the “Apostle of California” because he brought the faith to people there by establishing missions.

Msgr. William F. Stumpf, archdiocesan moderator of the curia, will lead the pilgrimage from Sept. 25-30 as the pilgrims visit churches, missions, shrines and other holy sites dating back to the early years of the Church’s expansion to the far western United States.

“There’s a rich history there in terms of how Catholicism made its way throughout the U.S.,” Msgr. Stumpf said. “I think what’s really going to be wonderful will be the opportunities to visit the missions that are a very important part of our Catholic history and tradition.”

Pilgrims also will enjoy touring scenic locations in California, which include unique examples of God’s creation, he said. “It’s a very beautiful part of the country. It should be a lovely spiritual experience in terms of having Mass every day, and opportunities for prayer and socializing, for fellowship and fun.”

Blessed Junípero Serra lived from 1713-84, planted the cross of Christ on the soil of what would become California, and established missions that continue to be historical and cultural treasures.

In addition to visiting several missions, the pilgrims will also tour a state park near San Francisco and wineries in the Napa Valley.

The pilgrims will depart from Indianapolis on Sept. 25 and begin their pilgrimage in San Francisco by touring San Francisco De Asis, also known as Mission Dolores and now located in a historic area of the city.

This mission was originally built on the Bay, and served as an important naval base for the Spaniards to protect their colony from invaders.

After spending the night in San Francisco, the pilgrims will journey to Mission San Rafael Archangel on Sept. 26. The mission is the site of a former convalescent hospital for sick Native Americans who became Catholic.

The pilgrimage will continue that afternoon to scenic Mount Tamalpais State Park, which features spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged coastline.

The day will conclude with a trip to Tiburon, a historic small town on the Bay which dates back to the Gold Rush days, and a ferry ride back to San Francisco.

On Sept. 27, the pilgrims will visit Sonoma’s wine country and Mission San Francisco Solano, the only mission founded after Mexico gained independence from Spain.

Following a walking tour of the town square, the pilgrims will continue to Napa Valley to visit the Andretti Winery, a familiar name to motor sports fans.

The pilgrimage will continue on Sept. 28 with a tour of the

well-known Mondavi Winery then on to scenic Monterey.

On Sept. 29, the pilgrims will travel to several sites in the Monterey Bay area, including Mission Santa Cruz and Mission San Juan Bautista.

Mission Santa Cruz is nestled among giant redwood trees not far from the Pacific Ocean.

Pilgrims also will enjoy a ride on a historic steam-powered train along narrow-gauge railroad tracks through towering redwood groves to the summit of Bear Mountain for a tour and barbeque lunch at an authentic camp site.

Also that day, they will visit Mission San Juan Bautista, Carmel by the Sea and the

world-famous 17-Mile Drive with magnificent seascapes.

The pilgrimage will conclude on Sept. 30 with a trip to Mission San Jose in San Francisco.

(The archdiocesan pilgrimage to California includes round-trip airfare to San Francisco, deluxe motor coach transportation, first-class hotel accommodations, train and ferry fares, all breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners. A Grueninger Tours travel director will assist Msgr. Stumpf with the pilgrimage. The price per person is $1,699 for double-room occupancy, and $2,159 for single-room occupancy with limited availability. For more information, contact Carolyn Noone at 317-236-1428 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1428, or cnoone@archindy.org.)

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