Mission San Juan Capistrano will be site of World War II flyover by the Condor Squadron to honor veterans

By STAFF     3/15/2016

Mission San Juan Capistrano plans new activities during St. Joseph’s Day and the Return of the Swallows Celebration on Saturday, March 19. A flyover by the Condor Squadron, as a tribute to America’s veterans, and a World War II- era concert by the Swing Cats Big Band are highlights of the annual event.

“Mission San Juan Capistrano has welcomed servicemen and women for generations,” said Mechelle Lawrence Adams, Executive Director of the Mission. “Many marines in Oceanside visit the Chapel before being deployed or leaving for service. Their continued support of the Mission San Juan Capistrano has meant so much to all of us.  As a result their service will be celebrated as part of our world renown tradition this year because the event falls on a Saturday, meaning more people will be able to attend and have a chance to join in our flyover tribute.”

The flyover by the Condor Squadron is scheduled for noon, during the official Bell Ringing ceremony. The ceremony will begin at 11:40 a.m. at the foot of the Mission’s Saint Junipero Serra statue and historic Bell Wall.

The Condor Squadron Officer’s and Airmen’s Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1965 by a group of World War II fighter pilots to preserve a piece of aviation history that played an important part in securing the freedoms we cherish as a nation.

The Condor Squadron flies WWII North American AT-6 airplanes over parades, stadium events, memorial services and community occasions to commemorate veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The organization also maintains aviation museums in Van Nuys and Burbank.

The flyover will be part of a memorable St. Joseph’s Day celebration, a tradition commemorating the annual return of the famous swallows to Capistrano, which was started by Father St. John O’Sullivan in the 1920s and is carried out each year on March 19th.

The day begins with St. Joseph’s Day Mass at Mission Basilica beginning at 8:30 a.m. Mission doors open at 9 a.m. with the daily ringing of the historic bells in honor of Saint Junipero Serra.

St. Joseph’s Day and Return of the Swallows festivities will take place all day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. including ringing of the historic bells, live music and dance performances, Native American presentations, guided tours, activities for kids and more. Dr. Charles Brown, Ornithologist from the University of Tulsa, will give two presentations on the swallows at 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. Local food vendors will serve onsite all day including Las Golondrinas, Sundried Tomato and 3:16 Bakery Shop.

Mission Inn in San Juan Capistrano supported St. Joseph’s Day by underwriting the events of the day.

Admission tickets are $15 for adults and seniors and $6 for children ages 4-11. Mission Preservation Society Members receive free admission. Tickets, information and the full event schedule may be found at www.missionsjc.com/swallows.