It’s difficult to miss the mark that the missions have had on the Golden State. Evidence of their influence is seen in places and people throughout California.

The missions provided the “beginnings of who we are today” as Californians, said Franciscan Father Ken Laverone, who is five generations removed from a Spanish soldier assigned to the pueblo of San Juan Bautista.

“I was baptized in the mission,” he said. “I made my first Communion there. I was ordained a priest there. All my family has been buried there, so it’s home for us. “Most of California as we know it — names of cities, mountains, rivers — they all came from (Blessed Junipero) Serra, the Spanish and the missionaries. So our heritage in a sense, our patrimony in terms of our identity, comes from that.”

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