A community outing to Tucson for Our Lady of Sorrows Priory
On a beautiful day in October, the priests and brothers of Our Lady of Sorrows Priory escaped for an outing to Tucson, and the Mission San Xavier. The mission itself reaches back to the days of Fr. Eusebio Kino, S.J., who founded it in 1692 in what was then still Mexican territory.
The church itself was begun in 1783 by the Franciscan missionaries, and is a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture. The shining white facade, a natural color from the limestone used, can be seen for miles around. The structure has thick walls of baked clay bricks, that is six feet thick in places, to support the weight of the towers and vaulted ceiling and dome. These masonry vaults are unique in the missions.
Entering the church, one is struck by the wonderful variety of color that decorates the walls and moldings. Carved wood statues populate the walls, and many restored paintings also decorate the interior. The altar and reredos are particularly beautiful, being intricately carved, much of it being guilded as well. An ancient statue of the Immaculate Conception is raised high above the floor, and of course the patron St. Francis Xavier is enthroned just above the tabernacle.
The community took this opportunity to pray in this beautiful ediface, and to take heart from the example of the great missionaries who have preceded them in the field of the Lord, and to store up ideas for future churches of their own. Catholic history is always inspiring for those continuing to make it.
Following a delicious lunch of authentic Mexican food, of course, the community stopped at the Pima air museum to explore the history of aircraft. The fascinating display of planes made for a relaxing afternoon.
The refreshing day completed, all were ready to begin anew to take up the cross of the apostolate and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ.