San Antonio: Remember the Missions!
Region: Southern Texas
Kid Friendly Day Trip
A Catholic Getaway in the Mission City
It’s difficult to separate the history of San Antonio from its role in the Texas Revolution. All Texans know of the battle against the powerful General Santa Anna and the subsequent defeat of the Texans at the Alamo during the Revolution between 1835-1836. But the history of San Antonio goes back much further to the Native Americans who lived in the region and then to the Spanish missionaries. The Spanish settled and built missions in San Antonio to fulfill Jesus’ command to baptize all nations. The missions were active between the 1600’s through the end of the 1700’s and helped evangelize many Native Americans.
Today, San Antonio is known for awesome Texas barbeque, the River Walk, George Strait, and the Rodeo. So, grab the kids, hold on tight, and let’s explore our Catholic roots deep in the Heart of Texas.
A great way to spend the day in San Antonio is to begin with Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement. This parish is part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and is a blessing to San Antonio, offering reverent Solemn Masses. It is built in Romanesque style with a beautiful high alter. They also have a Classical Academy and elevating music. This is the place to go to Mass if you are in San Antonio.
Next, grab a quick breakfast at What-a-Burger. They are known for awesome breakfast burritos and there are 4 missions to get to, so you will want to eat and run.
First stop, is Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña. This is the oldest of the missions in San Antonio and was founded by Franciscans in 1716. It has beautiful painted walls and ceilings and is an example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Interestingly, James Bowie fought and won the Battle of Concepcion against the Mexicans here in 1835.
Next stop is the Queen of the Missions, Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo. This is the largest of the missions in San Antonio and was founded in 1720 by Fr. Antonio Margil. He was a priest who walked everywhere barefoot and was devoted to fasting. This mission is known as the most beautiful of New Spain and has a gorgeous Spanish style high alter and notable large dome. Definitely spend some time walking around and contemplating what it must have been like for the Natives and Franciscans living at the mission working in service of the Lord.
Then, head over to Misión San Francisco de la Espada, or Mission Espada. This mission was founded in 1731 and is well known for its preserved aqueduct built by the Franciscans. It has a distinct campanile (bell tower). Make sure you spend time walking around the beautiful gardens. There is also a small shop where the Franciscans sell some glasswork.
Finally, head to Misión San Juan Capistrano. This mission was also founded in 1731 has a similar campanile like Mission Espada.
If your not too worn out, there are many things to do in the northern part of the city. Some ideas are the San Antonio Zoo, the Doseum, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the Botanical Gardens. I would also recommend going to a Bill Miller’s on the way. Their BBQ can’t be beat.
Depending on the time of year, end the day with a Sea World light show, a San Antonio Spurs game, or find a babysitter and head to the historic Floore’s Country Store where you will have a ball listening to country music and line dancing the night away!
Give praise to the Lord for an amazing day and consider praying for those who are willing to give up everything to travel the world to baptize all nations.