Annual “Romance of the Mission” black-tie fundraiser was held against the backdrop of the historic Great Stone Church

By Staff     10/5/2017

The Mission Preservation Foundation held its Romance of the Mission benefit gala on the grounds of historic Mission San Juan Capistrano Sept. 15. More than 450 attended the black-tie event that netted $221,000 for the preservation of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.  

After a cocktail reception in the garden, guests enjoyed a concert in the ruins of the Great Stone Church that featured Tony and Grammy vocalist Heather Headley, who sang “Amazing Grace,” among other favorites.  

Mission San Juan Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence Adams was joined by Mission Preservation Foundation President George O’Connell to celebrate San Juan residents and Orange County philanthropists Sheila and Jim Peterson for their ongoing support of Mission preservation efforts. Lawrence Adams said, “The Romance of the Mission gala is the foundation from which we spring-board to action for the next year. Tonight’s event gives us the financial – and in some cases spiritual and emotional where-with-all to keep up that fight – to do all that we can to make sure that this landmark is never forgotten as a place of inspiration, education and preservation.” 

The legendary Mission bells were rung to mark the end of the concert and guests were led through the Resurgam and into the Mission’s Central Courtyard for dinner, presented by long-time community partner, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Honored last year for their significant contributions to the Mission, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, under the leadership of General Manager Bruce Brainerd, presented a four-course plated dinner and generously donated a getaway experience valued at $10,000 as one of the event’s opportunity drawing items. 

Lugano Diamonds and Tadashi Shoji South Coast Plaza also donated items. Proceeds from the opportunity drawing were $21,000.  

Joining major benefit gala underwriters Microsemi, Sheila and Jim Peterson and the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, were the O’Connell Family Foundation and EJ Tracy.