The 2016 Rose Window Gala
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
KONO 101.1 with Fr. David Garcia, Director, on the history of our Missions:
The San Antonio Missions are four colonial-era churches that were established throughout the 18th century as an outreach of the Spanish/Mexican Catholic Church. The missions’ Franciscan Fathers ministered to the needs of the native people and at the same time spread their religious message. The missions also became economic centers of trade, agriculture and crop irrigation, as well as livestock and cattle ranching. However, after secularization in 1824, the four missions were largely neglected. In the early 1900’s the Catholic Church once again assumed responsibility and have since worked towards preserving their structural, historical and spiritual significance.
Las Misiones of Old Spanish Missions – Archdiocese of San Antonio
The goal of Las Misiones/Old Spanish Missions is to restore the church buildings to their original vitality by funding and partially endowing (1) the regular and scientific care of the native limestone walls and structures, and (2) the aesthetic and liturgical enhancement of the worship spaces inside the churches. All of this is to be accomplished while respecting the historic integrity of the interiors and exteriors of the churches.
Today, as the San Antonio Missions near the 300th anniversary of their founding, they continue to serve as parish churches. As churches of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the Missions continue to serve stable communities of parishioners and numbers of visitors each year.
To provide for their enduring care, the churches were organized under the umbrella non-profit organization, Old San Antonio Missions, Inc. The four churches at the heart of the Old Spanish Missions, or Las Misiones, are first and foremost vital places of worship with tremendous historical, religious, and cultural significance. For nearly 300 years, Missions Espada, San Juan, San José, and Concepción have served as places of worship and education while being centers of communal and cultural life among the Native Americans, religious orders, early colonists, settlers and traders who peopled the area now known as San Antonio, Texas.
Today, these Missions are no longer residential communities but remain active and vibrant parochial communities and centers of tourism. No less than the historic churches of Rome, Paris, or Mexico City, these Mission churches draw people from around the world to see and experience the wonder of this continuing celebration of life and divine goodness. At the same time, people of every faith and no faith who are interested in the historical, anthropological, and archeological significance of these churches and their Mission grounds are drawn to these historic sites.