A New Name for Mission School

Mission Parish School, with its 83-year history in San Juan Capistrano, is now Mission Basilica School.

When the preschoolers at one of the town's oldest schools feed the koi that dart through the Fountain of the Four Evangelists at , they lean against the handiwork of .

In 1928, the priest who is now revered for laboriously preserving the mission established their school. It is being renamed this fall in honor of the 100th anniversary of his arrival to San Juan Capistrano.

On Friday, the students, in their neatly pressed sweaters and plaid  skirts, celebrated the name change from  by attending a back-to-school Mass and a school blessing ceremony.

The San Juan Capistrano school is now one of three in California with "basilica" in its title, an honorific bestowed by the pope to churches he designates as having historical importance.

Mission Basilica School is nestled between the mission and the parish's , which in 2000, was elevated to basilica status.

During the 2010-11 school year, the Blue Ribbon school honored O'Sullivan and his contributions. In a newsletter mailed home to parents on Oct. 7, 2010, school officials wrote about the "pre-kindergarten junior historians":

The children feed the Koi that have lived in that fountain for many years. The children also kneel on the four benches of the fountain, dedicated to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, while feeding the Koi. Fr. John O’Sullivan is responsible for the construction of the fountain, along with the brick walls that enclose the PreK playground.

In the next week's newsletter, then sixth-grader Meagan Wagner is quoted as having written of O'Sullivan: “He was a carpenter, photographer, architect and priest who was tireless and determined. When he died he was originally buried in Los Angeles, but his body has since been moved to the mission burial grounds, and it is still there today.”

Matt Gaffney September 28, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Let's see, this is the 4th name change during my time in Capo. When I went there 9/1956 - 6/1964 it was Old Mission School. When my daughter Laura went there 9/1990 - 6/1998 it wan New Mission School. Then it became Mission Parish School, now it's Mission Basilica School. Whatever, to all us locals it'll always be Old Mission School.
former parent @ mbs July 30, 2012 at 09:22 PM
After having been in private schools for 18 years with my 4 children, and having had an amazing 18 years (2 daughters in college) at both St. Jeannes and Santa Margarita Catholic High, I was quite disappointed as my grade school children came to this school, with the understanding that there would be extra support for my son with a learning disability. That part was not great, and they are not equipped to help out students with any learning differences, however the worst part is that, there is a bullying problem at the school that is not being handled. Administration will not listen or enforce discipline for these actions. Parents are dismissed. The school is also not equipped to handle a gifted student as my 1st grader, was doing work that he did in preschool at his former private catholic school. For both my children, this was a huge disappointment and waste of time and money. My son suffered severely as a result of the schools bullying issues.
MBS supporter August 01, 2012 at 03:34 AM
It's too bad that one parent above was so disappointed in our beautiful school. Having been involved for 16 years, my children were well educated in academics as well as their Catholic Faith. We are a family at Mission School. My children were well prepared for high school and college and have made good moral choices. Our family was truly blessed by attending this school . The staff and administration is wonderful and supportive. We had many choices in our children's education and the Mission stood by their excellent reputation.
Lisa Perone August 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Without disclosing my age I can say that I also have many years of experience in private schools...21 to be exact. My eldest of 3 children (a recent graduate of USC) attended 5 catholic schools over the years due to job transfers so we've experienced it all. When my daughter attended Santa Margarita Catholic high school she became friends with a group of kids that we're excelling academically and were so well rounded. I was very intrigued when I found they had all graduated from Mission school. I immediately transferred my 3rd grader to Mission who has since graduated and has just finished her freshman year at Dana Hills with an academic scholar award on the JV golf team & academic achievement award in English which I give credit to her education at Mission Basilica school! My youngest is in 5th grade and has attended Mission since kindergarten so I look forward to his future after he has completed his grade school education at this amazing school. My personal opinion is that the key to success at any school or business for that matter starts at the top and I believe that the principal of Mission is the Best which is apparent when you meet the teachers/staff at this school. I encourage any potential family to visit the school to see for yourself!


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