By Jan Siegel, San Juan Capistrano
On Saturday, December 8, peace came to the community of San Juan Capistrano. The Juaneno Band of Mission Indians, the Acjachemen Nation, came together in prayer and friendship to honor the memory of 40 of their ancestors who perished in the Great Stone Church during the December 8, 1812 earthquake.
Those that perished were attending a Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe. A Mass at the Basilica, followed by the ringing of the bells at the Mission, which was followed by a special Acjachemen service in the Great Stone Church was a moving and inspiring moment in the history of our community. Along with Mission Executive Director, Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, all the factions within the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians set aside all of their differences and came together in peace and respect for one another.
This time of the year, as families come together, we are reminded how short life is and how much we all have in common. This is the perfect time of the year for all of us to put our differences aside and concentrate on the positive aspects of our lives and our community. The remembrance of the destruction of the Great Stone Church 200 years ago is a chance for a new beginning for our community. Let us not waste this opportunity to build on the friendship and respect that was shown during this ceremony.