Churches worth driving to

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Mission San Xavier, front facade

Name of Church Mission San Xavier del Bac

Address 1950 W. San Xavier Road, Tucson, AZ 85746-7409

Phone number 520-294-2624

Website www.sanxaviermission.org

Mass times Saturday vigil, 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8 & 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. Tuesday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. Communion Service on Mondays, 8:30 a.m. (These are the winter hours; during the summer the Masses are moved up an hour.) Also, in the nearby Juan Diego chapel there is a 6:30 a.m. Mass, Monday – Friday, and an 8:30 a.m. Mass in the Mission church Tuesday – Friday.

Confessions Saturdays, 4 – 5 p.m. (in the Juan Diego chapel)

Names of priests Fr. Stephen Barnufsky, OFM, has been a priest 41 years, and pastor since 2003. The Franciscans originally built the church, and returned to staff the mission a century ago.

Altar at the Tucson mission

School Yes. Established in 1864, it serves the Indian population in the area.

Special groups There is a Patronato San Xavier group (www.patronatosanxavier.org) which promotes restoration, maintenance and preservation of the Mission. You can also take a docent tour, and watch a video about the history of the mission.

Music Music is somewhat intermittent as musicians are available; different groups sing on Sundays.

Fellow parishioners The local Indians, other local residents, visitors.

Acoustics Fine.

Cry room No.

Parish bulletin Available online.

Courtyard at the mission.

Additional observations Mission San Xavier, the “White Dove of the Desert,” is located nine miles south of downtown Tucson. It was founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692, and was originally under the Spanish flag. The current church was built 1783-97, and is the oldest structure built by Europeans (who directed Indian workmen) in Arizona. Today, it is both a Catholic parish serving the Indian population in the surrounding area, as well as a popular tourist site (take a virtual tour on the parish website).

The Church is a national historic landmark, and is continually undergoing preservation efforts (you’ll see, for example, that the right tower needs to be painted). It has a modest, yet beautiful wooden interior, with many 17th century paintings and statues of the saints.

Lourdes Grotto at the mission

On either side of the church, for example, are paintings of the Pentecost and Last Summer. It has multiple domes. The church is open to the public daily, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. There is also a museum and gift shop on the grounds. Also, alongside the church there is a hill with a white cross atop it. In the side of the hill is a Lourdes grotto replica, built by the Bishop of Tucson in 1908. Also on the grounds is a Shrine to St. Francis of Assisi, to which many bring their petitions. Take a look at some images of the Mission by clicking here.

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  1. ‘paintings of Pentecost and the Last Summer [sic] . . . ‘ ?? A new event in the Church Calendar?
    Like most Missions, this one is spectacular and easily rivals the best of its California ‘cousins’. Well worth a visit if in the area. Dress warmly if attending a winter evening liturgy. It gets real cold quickly after sunset in December.

  2. St. Christopher says:

    What is the card table doing in front? Is the pastor here simply unable to bring himself to portray the Church accurately, in its historic form, and to conform to Catholic Tradition, as it was intended?

  3. If you are in the Tucson area, it is well worth a visit to this mission church located on an Indian reservation. Note that the church was founded by a Jesuit, not a Franciscan as reported above. From their website:

    MISSION SAN XAVIER DEL BAC was founded in 1692 by a Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. It was then that he became the first non-Indian to visit the village of Wa:k, or “Bac,” as he wrote it, and it was he who bestowed the patronage of San Francisco Xavier on this large village of O’odham or, as he called the natives, “Sobaipuris.”

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