An Earthquake and Those It Took Remembered

Local Juaneño tribal members gather at the mission to honor those who died at the Great Stone Church during an earthquake 199 years ago.

Local Juaneño tribal members and community friends remembered those killed in the Great Stone Church at during the Dec. 8, 1812 earthquake Thursday morning.

An annual remembrance combining native and Catholic traditions, the memorial service was officiated by the chief and chairman of the , David Belardes, and Franciscan Friar Joseph Scerbo, who served the at the mission for eight years, between 1996-2004.

A short procession led by Nicholas Firsich-Rios carrying the Juaneño banner was followed by personal testimonials and dedications in circular-prayer formation, surrounded by clear, blue skies, the dramatic, hollowed-stone apse of the old church and the scent of ceremonial burning sage.

Jerry Nieblas, descendant of pre-mission families and president of the , introduced the list of those 43 who perished 199 years ago.   Father Joseph read each name in English followed by a native Acjachemen translation of each by David Belardes.

Janice Pickartz December 09, 2011 at 05:02 PM
This is a very sacred and spiritual time for the Juanenos. It was good to see so many come together and join in Catholic tradtions, prayers and song in the native language. We weren't there for any kind of recognition but to honor those lives lost and to keep the history very much alive. This Mission is and always will be HOME to the entire tribe of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians......that will never change.


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