Friday, April 18, 2008

San Xavier del Bac

Just south of Tucson on the San Xavier Reservation, lies the best-preserved mission church in America. The mission was founded by the Spanish in 1700 next to the village of Bac. The first church was destroyed by Apaches in 1767, the Franciscans built the current church between 1783 and 1797.

San Xavier del Bac is an impressive example of 18th century Spanish Baroque architecture. The white-plastered walls and towers and the decorations inside are really beautiful. The altar shows how the two cultures, the Spanish and the O'odham Indian, intermingled: both Catholic and local artwork are represented.

Inside the church you can also find a statue of St Francis Xavier covered with milagros - images of healed body parts and pictures of children.

The major feast days at the mission church are those of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4) and Saint Francis Xavier (December 3).

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