Welcome to the oldest intact European structure in all of Arizona, the national historic landmark is known as Mission San Xavier del Bac. This historic Spanish Catholic mission is located just about 10 miles south of downtown Tucson, right on the Tohono O’odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. The history here on the site is absolutely amazing, construction starting for the structure you see today in 1783, completed in 1797. There is a total of 14 acres here on the site, the Catholic mission in question founded by Father Eusebio Kiro in 1692. The patron of the site, however, is Francis Xavier, as you may have guessed already.
During a visit, you will learn that the church still runs today, busily and happily ‘serving the needs of the local community’ daily. The members of the Village of Wa-k get all the benefits from this mission, such as lessons, schooling, and local services (ie. weddings, baptisms), but visitors and the general public cannot get those services. The general public can, however, attend masses and holiday services if they would like.
Inside the ornately designed church, you will find several original statuary installments as well as painted murals, the space ringing true and authentic to typical 18th-century religious spots. Head to the museum to learn the history of the people, culture, and local region through several different artifacts and films. Afterward, you can walk through the church itself, or perhaps head to the gift shop to find everything you could want, from kitschy souvenir t-shirts to authentic Tohono O’odham baskets. You can even visit the school here serving the children of the local tribe, or light a candle in the church for your own prayer request/the religious experience in general.