This morning as Mark and I were leaving our RV park to go to church, a whole family of Native Americans walked in front of us. When they passed and we were driving down San Xavier (pronounced Ha-vee-AIR) Rd., we kept passing small groups of people walking toward the mission. The mission is about two miles away from where we live.
After church, we decided it was time to visit the mission.
A mission was first founded here in 1692 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. The current mission was begun in 1783. Money was borrowed from a rancher to build the structure, but after fourteen years, the money ran out and the mission was left incomplete, as can be seen above in the tower on the right. Mass is still held here for the Tohono O’odham people, those we saw walking here this morning.
We went inside:
In the above picture, you can see that the west tower is nicely finished while the east tower is discolored. In 1978, a group of concerned citizens, called the Patronato, formed to raise money to have the mission repaired. They brought conservators from all over the world to repair the damage done by water leaks, cement patches, and the soot from three hundred years-worth of candles. Most of the detail work is finished. The parishioners, themselves, are working to finish the restoration on the east tower.
We had noticed when we came down off the hill and headed toward the mission that there was a smoky food aroma coming from these booths. They were feeding people something that smelled very good. If Mark and I hadn’t just had a large meal, it would have been tempting.