Our City, Our History: Helping the Old Spanish Missions
SAN ANTONIO - As we approach San Antonio's 300th birthday, it's important to remember where it all began. That’s why the new push to help the Old Spanish Missions is so important.
San Antonio's five historic Spanish Missions have been around since the early 1700s. All of them were established more than a hundred years before this area became part of the United States.
In 2015 - a milestone. Together they received a special designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), granting them the title of ‘World Heritage Site.’
When you take a look inside the missions, it's easy to see why they deserve the honor. Mission Concepcion, for example, is said to be the oldest, best preserved stone church in the country.
“Now you are on a world stage,” explains Father David Garcia, the director of the Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio. “You're up there with the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, with the Taj Mahal. We never thought of ourselves like that -- that's who we are. We are now at that level.”
The missions include Concepcion, San Juan, San Jose, Espada and Mission San Antonio de Valero -- better known as The Alamo. The grounds there are now overseen by the state of Texas. The others make up the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, run by the Park Service. All four of those are home to active parish churches.
The government does not fund the churches or the work they need done. And keep in mind that they've been around since the 1700s.
“For the last 300 years, these treasures have been here, but what's really important is for the next 300 years and beyond -- and to keep these missions and to keep these monuments alive in perpetuity,” said Dick Tips, owner of Mission Park Funeral Homes and Cemeteries.
Mission Park Funeral Homes is teaming up with the non-profit group that helps the missions to encourage the public to donate, and help fund projects to preserve San Antonio history. Even just five or ten dollars - really anything - can help.