Welcome to the
Old Spanish Missions
of the Archdiocese of San Antonio
A joint partnership with the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior
The San Antonio Missions
The Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio are a chain of five colonial era compounds located in a southern line from the center of downtown San Antonio to the southern edge of the city. They were established in the 18th Century as an outreach of the Spanish Government and the Catholic Church. The Franciscan Fathers founded each mission to evangelize the regional natives, teach them skills to help them adopt to Spanish ways, and minister to their needs. Additionally, the effort was to make them active citizens of the Spanish province of Tejas. Military forces were often located in the vicinity of each mission to offer protection.
Four of the five original missions still function as active Catholic parish Churches. They serve both a stable population of parish members as well as many visitors who attend worship services. These are Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. They are operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio as the Old Spanish Missions, Inc., an umbrella non-profit organization to provide for their care. The Archbishop of San Antonio appoints the Director of the Old Spanish Missions, who is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the mission churches.
San Antonio de Valero, known as the Alamo, is owned by the State of Texas and operated by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. It does not function as an active parish church and is not part of the Old Spanish Missions, Inc.
Today the National Park Service operates the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in collaboration with the Archdiocese. The Park Service is responsible for all the secular elements of the four compounds, including buildings, landscape and visitor centers. The Archdiocese continues to care solely for the church buildings.
You are welcome to explore these pages to learn more about the missions and to visit the churches and grounds of these historical, religious and cultural treasures. We also hope you will consider supporting the efforts to restore and preserve these precious monuments of our nation.