Two statues of St. Junipero Serra have been moved from a Catholic mission and church in southern California amid fears of vandalism as protests around the state continue to topple statues.
The Mission San Juan Capistrano and its neighboring church have removed statues of Serra from their outside displays this week.
Diocese of Orange spokeswoman Tracey Kincaid told the OC Register that the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano moved the statue “out of precaution.” The statue, which was anchored to a pedestal at the entrance, was removed on June 23.
The mission next door relocated the statute from its front courtyard to its Sala building. The 104-year-old statue has been displayed for almost 80 years. It will soon be part of a mission exhibit on the life of Serra.
“The statue was moved to ensure its protection and was relocated to also ensure its continued access to the public,” mission staff said in a June 24 Facebook post.
The basilica was built in 1986 to accommodate the growing Catholic community, which outgrew the mission’s smaller Serra Chapel. The Mission San Juan Capistrano was established by Serra in 1776.
Serra statues are among numerous depictions of historic figures pulled down in the past week amid ongoing protests and riots throughout the country. While some protests have torn down the statues of Confederate figures, as part of a call to end systemic racism, other statues have also been torn down from prominent locations, including one of George Washington.
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