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March 19th Marks Swallows and St. Joseph

March 19th: Swallows Return & St. Joseph's Day

The swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano tomorrow, on St. Joseph’s Day.

If you happen to be near Mission San Juan Capistrano tomorrow, there’s an annual phenomenon you won’t want to miss! Each year, flocks of swallows return to California’s most famous mission on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day.

On the day of Saint Joseph, the birds start arriving at dawn to rebuild the nests they’ve left hanging to the ruins of the Great Stone Church. These ruins have been left exposed since an 1812 earthquake caused the roof to collapse. Today, they make for a happy home for the many Cliff Swallows who build homes in the eaves and live there from March to October.

The walls of the Old Mission offer them shelter all summer long, but it’s on St. Joseph’s Day that they make their grand return. St. Joseph’s Day is set apart to honor the foster father of Jesus and has been celebrated for centuries.

The Great Stone Church, is said to be the largest and most ornate of any of the missions, and now has a humbler destiny — that of housing the birds that St. Francis loved so well.

After the summer spent within the sheltered walls of the Old Mission in San Juan Capistrano, miraculously, the swallows take flight again, and on the Day of San Juan, October 23rd, they leave after circling the Mission bidding farewell to the “Jewel of the Missions.”

We’re looking forward to the return of the swallows and celebration of St. Joseph tomorrow!

If you’d like something else to look forward to this weekend, tune into Shadow Politics, the latest program from The Maria Sanchez Show, with Senator Michael D. Brown on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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