Founded in 1769 by Blessed Junipero Serra and designated Minor Basilica by Pope Paul VI, this Mission is an active Catholic Parish in the Diocese of San Diego. San Diego de Alcala the first of the great California Missions marks the birthplace of Christianity in the far West. As California`s first church this significant historical shrine provides an appreciation of the initiation of Catholicism in this part of the world. Moved once and rebuilt three times in the wake of Indian and Mexican wars, at one time it also served as a military post. Today the Mission serves as a cultural center for people of all faiths who are welcome to relive the grandeur of two centuries of California history and tradition. This "Mother of the Missions" is the first in the chain of twenty-one California Missions. The restored church, gardens and artifacts on display are best enjoyed by docent tours as well as "Tote-a-tapes" in English, Spanish, & Japanese.