San Xavier del Bac Mission / Mission San Xavier del Bac
San Xavier del Bac Mission was founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino, and is often times called the "white dove of the desert." The San Xavier del Bac Mission is still in use. It is open daily and welcomes visitors to attend Mass. The only time you cannot visit the San Xavier del Bac Mission is for weddings and special religious ceremonies. The Mission serves the Tohono O’odham Nation. Free docent tours Monday - Saturday mornings (when church is not in use).
Backstory and Context
Father Eusebio Kino, was a Jesuit explorer working to spread Christianity in the area known as New Spain. The mission is located on the San Xavier Reservation, which is part of the Tohono O'odham Nation. In colonial times, missions like this one were an important part of Spainish Colonization.
The current church dates from the late 1700s, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. In 1783, Franciscan missionary Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain was able to begin construction on the present structure using money borrowed from a Sonoran rancher. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O'odham to create the present church.
The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners. Please refer to the Mission's wesite Homepage for the "Statement on Mission Usage."
*The Franciscans returned to the Mission in 1913.