“the oldest unrestored stone church in America”
This handsome stone church was dedicated in 1755, and appears very much as it did over two centuries ago. It stands proudly as the oldest unrestored stone church in America. In its heyday, colorful geometric designs covered its surface, but the patterns have long since faded or been worn away. However, original frescos are still visible in several of the rooms. Mission Concepción served for many years as the residence of the Father President, a missionary elected from among his Franciscan brothers from the College of Querétaro to act as the local field coordinator. He was in charge administratively of all Queretaro missions along the San Antonio River.From the beginning, Mission Concepción hosted religious festivals. Missionaries strove to replace traditional indigenous rituals and celebrations with Christian pageantry. Morality plays and processionals such as Las Pastores and Los Posadas, reenacting the events around the birth of Jesus, were commonly practiced.The missionaries, through baptism and administration of other sacraments, formalized the Native Americans' acceptance of Christianity. This combination of strict teaching and celebration eventually bore fruit. Today, these missions churches are active parishes with many members tracing their roots to the mission residents of long ago.
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