San Xavier Del Bac
Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
38Trip End Mar 29, 2009
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One of the best preserved and beautiful (and one of my favorite) mission churches is San Xavier Del Bac, and any time I'm in Tucson I have to go there. This church has survived so well due to the fact that it is located on an Indian reservation and was not abandoned when the US took over the territory. The Pima Indians were converted to mission life and adopted Catholicism. The sad truth, is that even though this saved the church, it basically distroyed their original culture. The Tohono O'odham, as they call themselves, have few cultural legacies left to them other than their language and the "cycle of life" myth.
Now that I'm totally depressed... : P
The church is one of the most ornate that I've seen, and the locals are very active with feast and saint's days. One time I was luck enough to visit on the festival of St. Francis (local saint) and witness the parade of the saint. Local tradition holds that if you raise the head of St. Francis three times, your prayers will be answered. I tried it, but I still don't have those winning lotto numbers yet!
I wanted to also visit the Pima Air and Space Museum (including the airplane graveyard), but the rain thought otherwise so it's on to "The Land of Enchantment", New Mexico!