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Mission Concepción



This mission was named in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Juan de Acuña (Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Acuña), the Marqués de Casafuerte.

This is another one of the chain of Missions transferred to the San Antonio River area in the 18th century during Spain’s period to extend its New World dominion from Mexico. Originally founded in 1716 in what is now eastern Texas, the mission was one of six developed by Franciscans to serve as a buffer against the threat of French incursion into Spanish territory from Louisiana. After a tenuous existence and several moves, the mission was transferred to its present site in 1731. These missions were used to convert the local Native Americans into devout Catholics and expand Spanish society. Besides the function as churches on the Spanish Colonial frontier, these missions also served as vocational and educational centers, economic enterprises involved in agricultural and ranching endeavors and regional trade.

This handsome stone church was dedicated in 1755, and appears very much as it did over two centuries ago. It remains the least restored of the colonial structures within the Park. In its heyday, colorful geometric designs covered its surface, but the patterns have long since faded or been worn away.

The church is an excellent example of Spanish Colonial architecture. A variety of features were incorporated into the construction of this and other existing mission churches in the park. Colorful Moorish designs mix with images showing heavy Native American influences. Intricate Renaissance details complement Romanesque forms and gothic arches. Mission builders, skilled craftsmen recruited from Mexico, preserved the basic Spanish model, with modifications dictated by frontier conditions. The Native American residents of the missions provided labor for the building of these churches. This activity fostered a sense of community and provided a means of training the mission residents as artisans.

From the beginning, Mission Concepción hosted religious festivals. Missionaries strove to replace traditional Native American rituals and celebrations with Christian pageantry. Morality plays and processionals such as Las Posadas, reenacting the events surrounding the birth of Christ, were commonly practiced.

The missionaries through baptisms and administration of other sacraments formalized Native Americans’ acceptance of Christianity. This combination of strict teaching and celebration eventually bore fruit. Today, these missions are active parishes with many members tracing their roots to the mission residents of long ago.(Source: National Park Service)


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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