History and faith at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

On Saturday I stepped inside St. Agnes Catholic Church. It was one of three sites I visited in Point Loma during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Donna Alves-Calhoun, author of the book Portuguese Community of San Diego, told me a little about the history of this church and the people whose lives are deeply linked to it.

I learned that an original church was built in 1908 by Portuguese fisherman families that had settled in La Playa, near the entrance to San Diego Bay. It was difficult for them to travel to Old Town or La Jolla to attend church services, so they built a small mission church in Point Loma.

In 1933 the new Mediterranean-style St. Agnes Catholic Church was built at the same location, using funds donated by the crews of local fishing boats.

The beautiful church’s bell tower was decorated with an illuminated statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, which could be seen at a distance. Like a beacon it guided the Portuguese fishermen safely home. I also learned the extraordinary stained glass windows were made in Ireland, and the religious statues placed in corners of the church are from Italy.

After I moved around the church, looking up at the ceiling and its dark wooden beams painted faintly with tulips, Donna explained that many Dutch settled in the Azores. Like many who have descended from San Diego’s Portuguese fishermen, she herself possesses a measure of Dutch ancestry.

During the annual Festa do Espírito Santo celebration, a crown kept in a glass case near the altar, symbol of the supreme dominion of the Holy Spirit, is brought with other holy objects in a ceremonial procession from the U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and Hall to St. Agnes Catholic Church. The bringing of the “Coroa” remembers an historical gesture of compassion by Portugal’s beloved Santa Isabel, the Peacemaker and Holy Queen.

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300 year old Kannon statue in Balboa Park!

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden!

Several days ago an astonishing 5750 pound bronze statue, created in 1735 by Takumi Obata, was installed by crane at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I must apologize, because up until now I have been referring to the new statue as a Great Buddha. After seeing the magnificent sculpture firsthand today, and reading more about it, I’ve learned that it’s actually a kannon statue, representing Kannon Bosatsu, a Buddhist goddess of mercy that is popular in Japan. The deity is called Guanyin in other parts of Asia, and has its origin in India in the 1st or 2nd century.

The amazing, nearly 300 year old cast bronze statue sits beside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream in the Lower Garden, among peaceful trees that invite meditation.

Originally this Kannon Bosatsu was located at the Middlegate Japanese Garden in Pass Christian, Mississippi. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed that garden, the damaged statue was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Gabrych, who later donated it to San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

A second statue that was donated to JFG also was installed several days ago. The large guardian deity stands in the Upper Garden, opposite the bonsai collection. I’m told that less is known about the exact history of this particular sculpture. I believe it represents Kongorikishi, one of the two Nio guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.

Enjoy these photos, then head over to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park for the full experience!

Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Nature's elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Nature’s elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Gazing down at the second half of the new stream to where it joins the Lower Garden's main river.
Gazing from the platform down at the second half of the new stream, to where it joins the Lower Garden’s main river.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
It's now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
It’s now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
An historic addition to an already very special place.
An historic addition to an already very special place.

To see photos that I took as the stream and observation platform were under construction, click here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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“There is no shortcut to true success.”

Statue of National Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
Statue of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” Those are the words of Trevor Hoffman, 2018 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

The wise quote adorns the base of his bronze statue, which was unveiled this summer at Petco Park.

Great achievements require hard work and persistence. Achievements that endure the test of time must be built game by game, inning by inning, pitch by pitch.

The San Diego Padres have honored two of their Hall of Fame players with magnificent statues at Petco Park. Both Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman are now immortalized in bronze. Both sculptures were created by artist William Behrends, who has been referred to as the Sculptor of Sporting History.

I posted a few photos of the Tony Gwynn statue five years ago here.

Neither Trevor Hoffman nor Tony Gwynn chose the easy path. Both worked constantly, studied the game, and never stopped honing their skills.

“There is no shortcut to true success.” To those who have high aspirations, important words to remember.

A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
A sculpture of Trevor Hoffman overlooks the Padres bullpen, just beyond left field at Petco Park.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
There is no shortcut to true success. Trevor Hoffman.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
The high leg kick of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman immortalized in bronze.
Two legends of baseball intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Two legends of baseball now intersect at Tony Gwynn Drive and Trevor Hoffman Way, just outside Petco Park.
Bronze sculpture of Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.
The bronze sculpture of legendary pitcher Trevor Hoffman, by artist William Behrends.

Thought-provoking contrasts in Mission Valley.

Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.
Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.

This morning, after I took photos of the funny sign at the Town and Country Hotel (see my previous post), I walked north up Fashion Valley Road and turned east on Riverwalk Drive, following the San Diego River. I then passed under Highway 163 via the San Diego River Trail, and arrived at the Hazard Center shopping mall. From there I followed several streets to work.

During my walk between the Town and Country and Hazard Center I took a series of interesting photographs. When I reviewed my photos this evening, I realized they presented complex and thought-provoking contrasts.

Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at greenery by the San Diego River.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at native greenery by the San Diego River.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
I'm approaching some major construction around where Highway 163 passes under Friars road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
I’m approaching some major construction near the place where Highway 163 passes under Friars Road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
Urban development requires work, resources and extensive planning.
Wild grass and urban development.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Construction worker by stacked fencing.
Construction worker by stacked security fencing.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard - Everyone's Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has built many of San Diego's freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard – Everyone’s Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has helped build many of San Diego’s freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce's father features this plaque. "Pappy" R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man's man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce’s father features this plaque. “Pappy” R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man’s man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection in Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection at Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of historical plaques on Presidio Hill.

View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.
View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.

A few years ago I walked from Old Town San Diego up to the top of Presidio Hill and wrote a simple blog about what I saw. You can revisit that post here.

What I failed to do at the time was photograph many of the historically important plaques that can be found around various sites and monuments, so I thought it would be proper to finally correct that omission.

I’ve included one informative sign which stands near the ruins of the old Spanish presidio’s chapel, and a variety of plaques. One of the plaques is at the base of the Padre Cross; two are near The Padre sculpture; one is on an observation structure near the Junipero Serra Museum parking lot; and several others are found at Fort Stockton, where the Mormon Battalion camped after their 2000-mile march from Iowa to San Diego.

Click the photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel.
Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel. It was built for the garrison’s soldiers after the original Spanish mission was relocated up the valley.
A large cross marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established by Junipero Serra.
The large Padre Cross, made in 1913 of tiles from the Presidio ruins, marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established in 1769 by Junipero Serra.
Plaque at base of cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.
Plaque at base of the Padre Cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.
Near the Padre Cross, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.
Between the Padre Cross and The Padre sculpture, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.
A plaque behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.
A plaque in the ground behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.
Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.
Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.
A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.
A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.
The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.
The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.
Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.
Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.
California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the fortification was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.
California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was first fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the site was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.

 

Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.
Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.
More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.
More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.
Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.
Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.
The two plaques depicted above are near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture by Edward J. Fraughton.
The two plaques described above can be found near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture created by Edward J. Fraughton.
Another nearby plaque explains the history of the sculpture. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
Another nearby plaque explains the history of the statue. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.
A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.
Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.
Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.
Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.
Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

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Photos of Tony Gwynn statue at Lake Poway.

A statue of Tony Gwynn was dedicated last Tuesday at Lake Poway, near the place he called home.
A statue of Tony Gwynn was dedicated last Tuesday at Lake Poway, not far from the place where he lived.

This morning I had to visit the new Tony Gwynn statue at Lake Poway. It was unveiled and dedicated last Tuesday.

I had to fill my eyes once again with that smile, imagine his laugh, remember his swing of the bat.

I never met Tony, but he touched my life, and the lives of countless others.

He worked hard.  He gave much.  He loved everybody.

He made the world much better.

Someone in a Gwynn San Diego Padres jersey sits by the softball field at Lake Poway, not far from the statue.
Someone in a Gwynn San Diego Padres jersey sits by the softball field at Lake Poway, not far from the statue.
The beautiful bronze sculpture celebrates one of the greatest hitters in MLB baseball. Gwynn doffs his cap while carrying his daughter Anisha.
The beautiful bronze sculpture celebrates one of the greatest hitters off all time in Major League Baseball. Gwynn doffs his cap while carrying his daughter Anisha.
Plaque near the statue. Tony Gwynn was known as Mr. Padre. His humanitarian spirit was felt around Poway, the place he called home. His smile and laugh touched many around the world.
Plaque near the statue. Tony Gwynn was known as Mr. Padre. His humanitarian spirit was felt around Poway, the place he called home. His smile and laugh touched many around the world.
Statue of Tony Gwynn in a beautiful park, where his children played.
Statue of Tony Gwynn in a beautiful park, where his children played.
Flowers and a heart with the word LOVE at Tony's feet.
Flowers and a heart with the word LOVE at Tony’s feet.
Tony Gwynn's signature greets those who visit the sculpture.
Tony Gwynn’s autograph greets those who visit the sculpture.
This is how we should live.
This is how we should live.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Cool busts of FX characters outside Comic-Con.

Lifelike bust of Baskets the Clown, from the FX comedy series Baskets.
Lifelike bust of Baskets the Clown, from the FX comedy series Baskets.

Outside 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, in the park directly in front of the Bayfront Hilton, the FX television channel has created a uniquely interesting FXhibition! The exhibition includes six cool busts of characters that have appeared on various FX shows. A couple of the sculptured heads are eerily lifelike. Take a look!

Quinlan, a vampire/human hybrid from the FX series The Strain.
Quinlan, a vampire/human hybrid from the FX series The Strain.
Frank Reynolds as The Troll, from the episode The Nightman Cometh in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Frank Reynolds as The Troll, from the episode The Nightman Cometh in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The White Nun, from American Horror Story: Asylum.
The White Nun, from American Horror Story: Asylum.
Pam Poovey, from Archer, an animated spy comedy series on FX.
Pam Poovey, from Archer, an animated spy comedy series on FX.
Gorbachaka the Troll, from the FX sitcom Man Seeking Woman.
Gorbachaka the Troll, from the FX sitcom Man Seeking Woman.

Comic-Con is almost over for 2016, and this will probably be my final blog post concerning it. I hope you enjoyed the ride! Now it’s on to other cool stuff around San Diego. Next up . . . another super special tour at the San Diego Museum of Art! So please stay tuned!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!