Mary Pope-Handy 408 204-7673

Mission San Juan Bautista in Hollister – Mother’s Day is a Perfect Day to Visit!

Mission San Juan Bautista is one of the most beautifully authentic California Missions in the Silicon Valley area.  It is so much the case that Mission San Juan Bautista is often the destination of fourth grade field trips as students in the Golden State are required to do a Mission Project during that academic year and a better, more lovely example of a Roman Catholic Mission can’t be found so close in.

While any time is a good time to visit this historic and scenic church, Mother’s Day is an especially ideal one as the South Valley Symphony will be performing there too.  Perfect day for mom: Mass, self guided tour of the mission, brunch and music!  Maybe squeeze a little shopping in too.

For more information on Mission San Juan Bautista:

History of this mission
Schedule of Masses
Mission brochure in English
Mission Brochure in Spanish

You can read about the concert in the Morgan Hill Times.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Beautifully Restored Stained Glass Windows at St. Mary’s in Los Gatos

Some Silicon Valley Roman Catholic parish communities enjoy really beautiful stained glass windows, while some with newer construction, (I think unfortunately) do not.  My own parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos, recently cleaned and restored its stained glass windows.  You can appreciate them without leaving home if so desired – they have a wonderful photo album online:

Stained glass windows at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos

Each image can be enlarged, so be sure to click on any which really appeal to you.  Of course, to get the full effect, you really should consider visiting it in person!

Another place to check out…

When our kids were little we sometimes visited other parishes (at times this was for purely practical reasons involving scheduling and at others it was to provide a little diversity to help them with new things to look at in church).  One of our favorites was St. Christopher in the Willow Glen area of San Jose.  St. Christopher was the patron saint of travelers (at some point it was thought that he was not an historical person, so I’m not sure if he is no longer that patron but I believe so) and at the back of the parish church there’s a really lovely, large stained glass collage of various things representing travel, including a steam ship, a train and an airplane.  Our son, when a toddler, called it something like the “airplane church”.  As a young boy, he thought that it was a pretty good thing to find in a church.

Missions In & Near Silicon Valley: Mission Santa Clara

We are so very fortunate to have several beautiful Catholic Missions, founded by the Franciscans beginning in the 1700s,  in and near to Silicon Valley. I’ll list the closest ones but all are within an hour or ninety minutes of the San Jose – Palo Alto area.

  • Mission Santa Clara
  • Mission San Jose (Fremont)
  • Mission Santa Cruz
  • Mission San Juan Bautista (Hollister)
  • Mission Carmel
  • Mission Dolores (San Francisco)

Today we’ll focus on the first one, and in later posts we will “visit” the rest.

Mission Santa Clara, named after St. Clare of Assisi, Italy, can be found at the heart of Santa Clara University (one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S.), which is only about a mile from the Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport. Like several other missions, this one is not the original construction nor in its original location.  Suffering from floods, fires and earthquakes, the mission was relocated and rebuilt a few times but with the last remodeling, this sixth church was made to capture much of the original styling.

This gracious mission serves as the university’s student chapel, is open to the public for viewing and for Mass attendance. (Check Mass times via link below. On holidays such as Easter and Christmas the times get juggled to allow 2 Masses so the usual schedule can change.)

The de Saisset Museum, just a few steps away on the SCU campus, houses some Mission artifacts and is the Mission’s museum too, in addition to other historic and art pieces to enjoy.  Admission is free.

The art in this beautiful church is remarkable, as is much of the history.  Please find a link to a self-guided walking tour below. It’s very worthwhile to take the time and take in the history and prayerful atmosphere of this special place.

Read about the history of Mission Santa Clara here.
Mass times for Mission Santa Clara
Self-Guided Walking Tour of Mission Santa Clara
Wikipedia article on Mission Santa Clara

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050-4345
(408) 554-4023

Silicon Valley Catholic – reflections from the trenches

For a year or two, I have considered starting a blog about being Catholic in Silicon Valley.  We have a rich and diverse Catholic community here, some interesting local church history, a few challenges that aren’t found everywhere else and in general, there’s no shortage of topics.  I enjoy writing and blogging and think I can make this a helpful resource – I hope so!

There are enough blogs, books, periodicals and other avenues for people to argue about theology, liturgy, apologetics, ethics, church law, abuse, scandals, church politics and on and on.  I won’t promise to entirely avoid topics that could step on toes, but those areas aren’t the point of this blog.

Instead, the primary focus here will be on areas that I hope will help to grow or build faith, community, and a sense of belonging among Catholics who may feel a little disconnected or alienated for whatever reason.  (Those reasons will surely come up but again, they won’t be the focus of the blog.)  We live in a pluralistic society and many of our friends who are not Catholic may wonder about certain practices or beliefs, and discussing some of them may also be helpful to them as well. (more…)