By Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, Archdiocese of San Antonio
I join with our civic leaders and Catholics across the archdiocese in celebrating the inclusion of the San Antonio Missions as a United Nations World Heritage site. It is a wonderful recognition of the cultural and historical treasures they are, not only to the city, but to the world.
The missions have helped to shape the face of San Antonio. They are still a haven of culture and history; we especially value that they continue as active parishes of the archdiocese, where hundreds of families on the city’s south side continue to gather for prayer within the original walls, which many dedicated persons have worked to preserve over the years.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio Old Spanish Missions, which include Mission Concepción, (Nuestra Señora de la Purisma Concepción de Acuña Mission), Mission San José (San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission), Mission Espada (San Francisco de la Espada Mission), and Mission San Juan (San Juan Capistrano Mission), are a living witness to the rich heritage left by the Spanish Franciscans who worked among and with the Native Americans (indigenous) and built these missions in the 18th century.
Now, San Antonio enjoys the fruits of this legacy. We are a multicultural city where — enriched by our diversity — we live together in peace and harmony.
We look forward to continuing our long partnership and collaboration with the National Park Service in enhancing and protecting these beloved missions and telling their wonderful story to the world.