It’s Good Friday!
If you’ve never visited San Xavier del Bac before, you might want to add it to your Easter weekend plans (though sadly they have some scaffolding up in front of the building now to make some needed repairs).
The mission was founded in 1692 and the church was built between 1783 and 1797. According to their website, it is ‘the oldest intact European structure in Arizona’ and it still functions as an active Catholic parish.
It’s not hard to understand why they call it the ‘White Dove of the Desert’ and while it looks impressive from the parking lot, you owe it to yourself to see the inside of the church. The original artwork was recently restored to it’s original glory.
Visitor’s tip: There is no fee for visiting San Xavier del Bac though as you might imagine, it take a lot of effort to keep a historic building like this maintained so donations are appreciated (no pressure – just large plexiglass donation boxes). Also, while you are welcome to attend Mass, if you are not Catholic, you are asked to abstain from taking Communion. The mission is open daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. San Xavier del Bac is well worth the visit whether you are religious or not – please just respect that this is a place of worship and give it the respect that it deserves.
Photographer’s tip: You are welcome to take photos but again, this is a working church so please be respectful of those that are there to pray.
Tip for the hungry: If you visit mid-day (and especially on the weekend), there’s a good chance that one or more Native American (the mission is on the Tohono O’Odham Nation land) vendors will be selling frybread. Mmm, frybread. These tasty, tasty treats come in a variety of sweet and savory options. There’s really no place to sit so just plan to stand around and make a bit of a mess. It’s worth it.