Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

An early morning beam of light streams though the open double doors and down the main aisle at Mission San Juan Bautista, illuminating the altar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Mission San Juan Bautista, where visitors and parishioners gathered for the winter solstice illumination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Sunlight reflects off a Mission San Juan Bautista window.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Sunlight streams down the mission's 188-foot main aisle.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Franciscan Brother Keith Warner walks through the beam of sunlight.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The illumination dramatically lights one woman.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Ruben Mendoza, an archaeologist at Cal State Monterey Bay, believes Franciscan architects carefully engineered the luminous event for the sun-worshiping local Indians they sought to convert.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Visitors and parishioners wait for the illumination of the altar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The dawn's early light comes through the mission's windows before the illumination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Cal State Monterey Bay archaeology students Jewel Gentry and Jennifer Lucido, from left, observe the illumination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Chief Sonne Reyna of San Juan Bautista, left, and Elayne Reyna, center, chant and play instruments as they await the illumination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The crowd, including Native Americans, waits for the sun's rays to strike the church.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A statue at the mission depicts a Native American reaching skyward.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

The Illumination at Mission San Juan Bautista

Pictures in the News | August 12, 2013

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in Europe, where a shooting star from the Perseid meteor shower burns up in the atmosphere in Hungary. The Perseid meteor shower occurs...   View Post»

   

The Illumination at Mission San Juan Bautista

2012 London Olympics | Day 3

Highlights from Day 3 of the 2012 London Olympics. For the Stars and Stripes, swimmer Michael Phelps competes in the men's 200-meter butterfly heats swimming event; fencer...   View Post»

   

Massive fish die-off in King Harbor

Massive fish die-off in King Harbor Marina

Redondo Beach officials said initial assessments suggest oxygen depletion in the King Harbor basins caused the massive fish die-off. "Every indication is that this is a...   View Post»

   

Tijuana jail

Tijuana jail 'La Ocho' to close

A cacophony of shouts and clanging metal. The overpowering stench of vomit and urine. This is the Tijuana jail, nicknamed “La Ocho” because it is on Eighth Street. The...   View Post»

The Illumination at Mission San Juan Bautista

Once a year, just after dawn on the day of the winter solstice, people gather at Mission San Juan Bautista to see an “illumination,” a brief, breathtaking interval when a sunbeam shoots through the church’s front window to bathe the altar and the sacred objects around it in a blazing patch of light.

No one is more excited than Ruben Mendoza, a 55-year-old archaeologist who teaches at Cal State Monterey Bay. Mendoza has been researching illuminations at California missions for years and says such events may have had profound meaning to the Native Americans who worshiped at the churches.

Read the full story, “Winter solstice means ‘illumination’ at California mission”

No comments yet

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published