It is visible from Interstate Highway 19, which links Tucson with the Mexican border: The gleaming white dome shimmers off to the west. Upon arrival at Mission San Xavier del Wa:K, one encounters a vibrant little community of Tohono O’Odham people, offering basketry and ceramics- and love for their Creator. They, and the Akimel (Pima) followed the teachings of a Messenger they called I’itoi (“Elder Brother”), so it was easy for them to embrace Christ, when the Spanish brought His teachings.
The mission is among the most active in the Southwest, with several services on Sunday and Wednesday.
As I approached the church, the outside balconies were striking. They were built to replicate Christ’s Mount at Capernaum, when He delivered the Beatitudes.
The mission bells struck twice while I was there.
While waiting for Mass to finish, so my photo shoot inside the church could commence, I wandered over to the west chapel, and noted this fresco of the Madonna.
While entering the church, I noticed the foyer’s ceiling is similar to that of other Franciscan missions in the area-ocotillo lashings, supported by mesquite beams.
At 10:10, the scrum of photographers were able to enter the sanctuary. I captured these fine features:
With St. Kateri as witness, the choir is in full voice, each Sunday, from this loft:
A soloist frequently rings forth, from this dais on the side of the nave:
Although I am not a Roman Catholic, I find the efforts made by this faith community are laudable and uplifting. The mission is sure to be the subject of further visits.