Sadly, I did not go inside because mass was going on among other religious events going on outside.
The plaque near the front entrance reads: New Mission Church "Spirit and likeness" of the Great Stone Church on the Mission grounds which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812.
Built in 1984, this is just on the other side of the Mission San Juan Capistrano. It was pattern after the Great Stone Church that begun in 1797 and but sadly collapsed in 1812. Designed by architect John Bartlett and the interior was designed by historian Norman Neuerberg. , who painted much of decorative and sacred art which adorns the walls. Pope John Paul II in 2000 conferred the title of minor basilica on the church, a status only granted to a church of religious, historic, and cultural significance.
The Grand Retablo was installed in 2007 which is a 42-foot-high, 30-foot-wide, 16-ton altar-backing carved in cedar and covered in gold leaf. The retablo's focal point is the Trinity at top center, Bl. Junipero Serra top left , Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha top right, St. Francis bottom right, St. Joseph bottom left and Our Lady of Guadalupe bottom center, which was designed and created by 84 artisansin Talleres de Arte Granda in Madrid, Spain.
All the missions have a church or chapel and at first I thought this was it. I didnt come in through the main entrance so it threw me off a little. This basilica may not be as grand as some. When you hear basilica you think more grandure but it is nice and has alot of history and culture behind it. One of the main reasons to see the Mission Basilica is its altar. It is called the Grand Retablo. It was put in in 2007 and it is fifteen tons and forty-five feet high.
"Retablo is a Spanish word and literally means behind the table or altar. A Retablo – sometimes called a rererdos- is the background that enhances the altar which is the liturgical focal point of the sanctuary. The retablo is not meant to be distinct from the altar, rather, it is its extension and adornment."
You can come in here without having to pay admission to the Mission. It is also separate from the mission. We got a very cozy and welcoming feeling when we came in here.