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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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El Viaje de Portolá Named Honoree for Mission Preservation Foundation Benefit Gala and Broadway Star David Burnham is Featured Artist

Readers of this blog know that we are big fans of the Mission San Juan Capistrano. From its founding by Father Junipero Serra in 1776, to the tragedy of the Great Stone Church to the iconic annual return of the swallows, our beloved Mission is the heart of Orange County history and a fixture of [...]

The Guest of Honor Arrives at Swallows Day

Courtesy of the San Juan Chamber, look who visited the Mission yesterday to take in the Swallows Day celebration? A big thank you to the San Juan Chamber of Commerce for sharing this photo.

image credit: San Juan Chamber of Commerce

Say what you want about those little birds, but their timing is impeccable.


The Ritual of the Return of the Swallows

A year ago today on St. Joseph’s Day, on the day of Pope Francis’ installation at the Vatican, a pair of cliff swallows took up residence in their ancestral home at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Laura Saari recalls last year’s return of the swallows in an article for Orange Coast Magazine, celebrating this important [...]

Celebrate the Return of the Swallows at the Mission

What better place to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day and the Return of the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano than the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano? Below is everything you need to know about this week’s celebrations at the Mission.

Chamber Defends SJC on LA Times Blog: Yes, the Swallows are Here!

It’s St. Joseph’s Day and the Los Angeles Times is trying to spoil our fun! In an LA Now blog post entitled “San Juan Capistrano celebrates, but will swallows arrive?” the Times wonders whether there is anything left to our annual tradition:

Tuesday is stoked in tradition for the mission, but much has changed in [...]

A St. Joseph’s Day Swallow Sighting!

The Mission has many visitors today, but perhaps none is more welcome than this little guy — a cliff swallow soaring above the St. Joseph’s Day celebration at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

A Swallow Visits the Mission on St. Joseph’s Day (credit: San Juan Chamber)

Image credit goes to the San Juan Chamber. We [...]

Happy St. Joseph’s Day! Music and Lyrics for “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano”

Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano

Words and Music by Rene Leon, © 1940/1969

When the swallows come back to Capistrano That’s the day you promised to come back to me When you whispered, “Farewell”, in Capistrano Twas the day the swallows flew out to sea

Tomorrow’s Schedule of Events at the Mission

Tomorrow is St. Joseph’s Day, the traditional day that the swallows are said to return to Mission San Juan Capistrano. If you are heading to the Mission, the Register has the schedule of events:

8:30 a.m.: Mission Basilica: Mass

9:55 a.m.: Central courtyard: Welcome from mission Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence-Adams

10 a.m.: Central courtyard: Renée [...]

Save the Date: St. Joseph’s Day and Return of the Swallows Celebration

Courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano:

Read the Story of the San Juan Capistrano Swallows.