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Dana Point Times

St. Joseph’s Day marks the return of the famed cliff swallows, from their winter home in Argentina to their spring and summer nesting grounds in San Juan Capistrano. The Mission will celebrate the occasion with a full day of events on Wednesday, March 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Mission’s St. Joseph’s Day and Return of the Swallows Celebration begins with mass, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., at Mission Basilica Church. Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, executive director of the Mission, will deliver a welcome address at 9:55 a.m.

Throughout the day, the Mission’s historic bells will be run to honor St. Joseph’s Day. An official ceremony and community presentations will be held at the Historic Bell Wall at 11:40, just prior to the noon bell ringing.

David Bolton, executive director of the California Missions Foundation, will deliver a lecture on Fr. Junípero Serra, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Soldiers Barracks Gallery.

Charles Brown, an expert on swallows and professor at the University of Tulsa, will deliver a lecture on the Mission’s Swallows Vocalization Project, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., also in the gallery. The project, now in its third year, aims to attract the swallows back to nest at the Mission using recorded mating calls. In recent years, increased urbanization has forced the swallows to find alternative nesting grounds.

The day’s festivities also include performances by several groups and local schools, activities for children and guided tours. Local food vendors will also be serving meals, treats and refreshments throughout the day.

General admission into the Mission costs $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 60 and over, and $6 for children ages 4-11. Admission is free for Mission Preservation members, current volunteers and children 3 and under.

For a complete list of events, or for more information, visit

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