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San Antonio Mission News

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee agreed to inscribe the missions on the World Heritage List by consensus at its 39th session in Bonn, Germany, this past weekend.

“The San Antonio Missions is an extraordinary national and international treasure,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior SallyJewell. “The Missions interweave Spanish and indigenous cultures that are a vital part of America’s heritage, and their inscription as a World Heritage Site will draw visitors from around the world to San Antonio, providing an economic boost to the local community.”  - Click here to read more.

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Click here to read the official UNESCO World Heritage Committee decision to make the San Antonio Missions a World Heritage Site.


Special Mass
Sunday, July 12, 2015
10 am

Mission Concepción
         Presider: Father David Garcia  



Watch interview of Dan Naranjo

The designation of the San Antonio missions as a World Heritage Site was confirmed July 5 at the 39th annual session of the World Heritage Convention in Bonn, Germany. The U.S. and San Antonio were well represented in Bonn with a delegation of public and private entities led by the U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, Crystal Nix-Hines, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association. The San Antonio delegation included Las Misiones Advisory Committee member Daniel A. Naranjo, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (District 3), Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and representatives from the San Antonio River Authority, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The University of Texas College of Architecture, Construction and Planning and the National Park Foundation. Mr. Naranjo gave an interview from Germany concerning the impact of this new honor to the missions, stressing that the churches are active parishes in the archdiocese.


  Pastoral Center prayer service celebrates
missions’ selection

A celebration of the designation of the San Antonio Missions as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was held in the Pope Paul II Conference Room of the archdiocesan Pastoral Center on July 8.

The service, coordinated by the archdiocesan Department of Pastoral Offices, featured music, Scripture, and a reflection given by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS.

Special guests at the missions included Franciscan friars who staff the Old Spanish Missions at Mission San José and Mission Espada


Father David Garcia, Director, Old Spanish Missions, Inc. of the Archdiocese of San Antonio

“San Antonio’s missions have all the qualifications to meet the title of World Heritage site. Our missions have value for the whole world. We certainly believe that. We will continue the work of preserving the four mission churches that fall under the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s jurisdiction. Being a World Heritage site is big; it is more than just the missions, this is something for the city.”

Rick Grinnan, Chairman of the Board, Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

“Although Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions, was not able to be physically present in Bonn, Germany for the formal announcement, we are proud to have supported the major effort to organize and submit our nomination. This was a massive project involving numerous organizations throughout our city and national leadership working together as one team. We are grateful that our precious missions are now elevated to the status of a World Heritage Site and plan to continue our support for these historic resources.”

Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran, City Council District 3, City of San Antonio

“This is a monumental moment for all our families who have lived in and around the Missions because we are very proud of being from the Southside. As of July 5, 2015 the world now knows what we in the Southside and the city of San Antonio have always known; that we have a world treasure in our very own backyard. The honor of receiving the official World Heritage Site Designation will help to ensure that we can continue to enhance and preserve our treasure as we share it with the rest of the international community.”

Casandra Matej, Executive Director, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

“We’re very excited to celebrate the World Heritage designation of San Antonio’s Missions. This city has always been a crossroads of commerce and culture—and of course that started at the missions. This designation for San Antonio will continue to grow visitation, a top industry in our city that bears many amenities that improve the quality of life for all of us who live here. The SACVB works hard to market and promote San Antonio to potential visitors and meetings around the country, and around the world. As you can imagine, having a World Heritage designation is a fantastic opportunity to help tell our story.”

Mardi Arce, Superintendent, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

“The National Park Service is honored to receive this designation along with Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo). We congratulate everyone that diligently worked towards this goal and look forward to continuing our partnerships to preserve, protect, and share the missions story with the world.”

Sue Ann Pemberton, FAIA, San Antonio Conservation Society

“The San Antonio Conservation Society is honored by the inscription of the San Antonio Missions as Texas’ first World Heritage Site. Since 2006, Conservation Society leaders have worked diligently alongside local and international experts to produce the World Heritage nomination of the Missions. Their dedication to preserving and showcasing the San Antonio Missions stretches back to the organization's earliest days: the Conservation Society saved parts of Mission San José beginning with the purchase in 1926 of two wooden granary doors, followed over the next several years by purchases of the granary and surrounding property, and eventually collaborated on the restoration of the church and compound walls. Much like they did in the eighteenth century, the San Antonio Missions today stand poised on the world stage, linking past to present, Old World to New World.”

Suzanne Scott, General Manager, San Antonio River Authority

“The San Antonio River was the unifying link between the missions. With the UNESCO World Heritage Site Inscription, the rest of the world will now be able to appreciate the rich story of how the aquatic and riparian habitats of the river sustained the life of indigenous peoples and Spanish colonial missionaries, soldiers and settlers. The river also supported farming and ranching operations at the missions through a series of sophisticated acequias, which are some of the earliest recorded engineered water systems in the United States. There is so much wonderful history in San Antonio, and we look forward to sharing our beloved missions and river with the world.”

Suzanne Dixon, Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association

“The World Heritage List recognizes the most significant natural and cultural sites on the planet, and our missions has now earned a prestigious and well-deserved spot on that list. The San Antonio missions represent our nation's largest collection of Spanish colonial resources, and today’s vote secures their place amongst Earth’s greatest landmarks. Protected already as a national park, their new status as a World Heritage Site will further enhance the experience of visitors while vastly expanding the missions’ economic impact on the city of San Antonio.”