The Alta California missions built in the Spanish period were initially run by Franciscans, then secularized in the 1830s, becoming regular parish churches. Some lay people officially served to "administer" the mission property after secularization; for example, Ynocente Garcia was administrator of Mission San Juan Bautista.

What were the job responsibilies of the administrator? Who appointed them and who paid them?

  • I don't understand how turning something into a church could be considered "secularization."
    – user2848
    Sep 8, 2017 at 3:40
  • @BenCrowell yes, the term is confusing. a parish church is "secular" compared to a missionary church staffed by an order, in this case the Franciscans. WordNet definition 4: "of or relating to clergy not bound by monastic vows". Sep 8, 2017 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


The mission comisionados and mayordomos were appointed by the Monterey junta and by governors, principally Figueroa and Alvarado, or by the mission inspector Hartnell.

According to Carlos Salomon in "Pio Pico at Mission San Luis Rey", rules laid out by Figueroa specify that the administrator take the mission inventory, pay off its debts, distribute land and tools to emancipated mission neophytes, and manage the leftover land for the public benefit.

A number of the administrators found ways to enrich themselves using the assets they managed.

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