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(L to R) Mission Preservation Foundation president George O'Connell, Wylie Aitken, Monsignor Michael McKiernan and Bette Aitken at last year's Romance of the Mission benefit gala. Photo: Carla Rhea
(L to R) Mission Preservation Foundation president George O’Connell, Wylie Aitken, Monsignor Michael McKiernan and Bette Aitken at last year’s Romance of the Mission benefit gala. Photo: Carla Rhea

The Capistrano Dispatch

Mission San Juan Capistrano’s 2015 Romance of the Mission benefit gala will be held on Friday, Sept. 18 on the Mission grounds. Longtime supporters Wylie and Bette Aitken are the 2015 honorees, and the live concert performance in the ruins of the Great Stone Church is titled “That’s Life!,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra on his 100th birthday. The upcoming canonization of the Mission’s founder, Fr. Junipero Serra, will be acknowledged and celebrated during the evening.

Proceeds from the 2015 benefit gala will be directed toward the third and final phase of the Sala Preservation Project, an ongoing renewal effort of the Mission’s 18th-century building to include the museum room build-out.

For tickets, underwriting opportunities or more information about the gala, contact Barb Beier at 949.234.1323 or visit

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comments (3)

  • First, it is good to see Monsignor Michael McKiernan, Rector/Pastor obviously on the Mission grounds bringing the spirit of the Catholic church back to treasured, historical landmark, Mission San Juan Capistrano.

    Second, how is a glitzy, gala evening authentically & religiously celebrating the canonization of Father Junipero Serra?

    Let the church take care of acknowledging the holy canonization…not bright lights, formal wear, and wining & dining….

  • The gala evenings at Mission San Juan Capistrano raises funds for restoration and maintenance of the Mission. The gala evenings allow people to experience the charm of a very special place in California history and helps to promote the acknowledgement of Father Junipero Serra as a visionary and dedicated priest. It provides inspiration and beauty. These types of events bring attention to the historical landmark that may not be occurring without the well orchestrated galas, Evenings Under The Stars, and Mission exhibits, and staff. We appreciate the efforts of the Monsignor and the administrators of the non-profit foundation that make these events and the restoration of the Mission possible.

  • James – Again, Monsignor McKiernan’s presence on the grounds is wonderful. However, if you believe that Father Junipero Serra would approve all the glitz, gowns, etc that takes place on the grounds and within the sanctuary of the Great Stone Church, called a gala, you are WRONG. Let’s ask the Pope himself his opinion on commercialization. What do you think he would say when he walked in?….it is the opinion of many that the gala is exactly that, commercialization. The Mission was founded to be a religious institution, evolving into a very spiritual, historical place. But you go ahead, have an evening of glitz, may it bring a ton of $’s. You’ll need that cash to repair the damages done to the artifacts.

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