Our Mission - Collect, Preserve, and Make Available

The Mission of the Catholic Archives of Texas is to collect, preserve, and make available for research those records of individuals and organizations engaged in work reflecting the goals of the Catholic Church in Texas.
San Antonio Missions Closer To Becoming World Heritage Site PDF Print E-mail
Mission Concepcion San AntonioCatholic News Service -- Just as an incredible amount of time and craftsmanship went into the construction of San Antonio's centuries-old Spanish missions, compiling the World Heritage Site nomination document was a labor-intensive undertaking in its own right.

The document was sent in January to the Paris headquar- ters of UNESCO's World Heri- tage Committee. Seven long years of work on the project have paid off though, as the San Antonio Mis- sions are now one step closer to a World Heritage Site designa- tion, where they would join the ranks of the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge and Angkor Wat. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Jan. 17 that the ofcial U.S. nomination had been made.

"We are very happy and excited about the news," said FatherDavidGarcia,directorof the Old Spanish Missions, "and at the same time, we are a little cautious because the attempt to get the U.S. government to pay the dues for the World Heritage Program to UNESCO have stalled for now, so we are a little disappointed in that."

‘Mother Church’ Of Texas Reopened Easter Sunday PDF Print E-mail

Texas Catholic Herald — It’s been a long journey, but at noon on April 20, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo celebrated Easter Sunday Mass at St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, marking the re-opening of the “Mother Church of Texas.” 

The historic church has been closed since September 2008 after sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Ike. The Cathedral Basilica, which is located on the corner of 21st and Church streets on Galveston Island, endured many storms since it was built in 1847. However, the damage from   Hurricane Ike was so extensive that it took the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston almost six years to revitalize the church and make it operational   again.

“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston treasures the Cathedral Basilica, the first Cathedral built in Texas, and we wanted to ensure that it be restored to a place where all Catholics are drawn to for prayer and reflection,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “It is with great joy that we are able to re-open such a special church which also represents the beginnings of the Catholic Church in Texas.

Saint John's Bible PDF Print E-mail

stjohnbibleTexas Catholic Herald  The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston had a rare opportunity to see a magnificent piece of art and Scripture at a special introduction to the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The original version of The St. John’s Bible is the first handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible to be created since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago. In 1998, the Benedictine monks of St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce the Bible. 

Divided into seven volumes, each two feet tall by three feet wide when open, the Bible displays a mixture of techniques used in the creation of ancient illuminated manuscripts (handwritten with quills on calf-skin vellum, featuring gold and platinum leaf and hand-ground pigments) and modern technology: computer software was utilized to plan the layout of the Bible and line-breaks for the text.


San José Restoration Award Is Eighth For Old Spanish Missions PDF Print E-mail

MissionSanJose awardToday's Catholic  The Old Spanish Missions have added another award to their growing list of recent honors — a San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS) 2014 Preservation Award for restoration of Mission San José's façade. It marks the eighth award the missions have received over the past few years and will be presented at the SACS Award Dinner on Thursday, March 27, at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

Only 10 such awards are given annually by SACS to recognize significant accomplishment in accordance with its purpose "... to preserve and to encourage the preservation of historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas, its natural beauty and all that is admirably distinctive to our State; and by such physical and cultural preservation, to keep the history of Texas legible and intact to educate the public, especially the youth of today and tomorrow, with knowledge of our inherited regional values."


Catholic Southwest Latest Issue PDF Print E-mail

photo-3The Texas Catholic Historical Society has released the latest issue of its journal, Catholic Southwest, Volume 24 (2013). The journal features on the cover the unfortunate event of October 23, 1970 in which, according to news reports, a non-denominational preacher and retired school teacher intentionally flew a small airplane into the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, located in the Diocese of Brownsville in South Texas. 

Subscribe here to the Catholic Southwest to read the full story.]

In the lead article, Fr. Robert E. Wright, O.M.I., Associate Professor at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, relates the history of the shrine, which has drawn countless pilgrims during its long life. "Over the decades its most fundamental religious motivations have remained constant, but its ethnic and sociopolitical implications have shifted along with the social identity of the Virgin's devotees and of the shrine clergy," writes Fr. Wright.

Titles and brief abstracts of articles found in Volume 24:  

 The Virgin of San Juan Del Valle: Shifting Perceptions in the Borderlands. By Robert E. Wright, O.M.I.
This comprehensive examination of a Marian devotion in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is the history of a shrine to Nuestra Señora de San Juan del Valle (Our Lady of San Juan of the Valley)…

“To Make All Your People Saints”: Mother Katharine's Schools in Rural Louisiana. By Amanda Bresie.
During the 1920s and 1930s, rural African-American children in southern Louisiana had few if any educational opportunities. Many of these children were Catholic. St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS) created a centrally organized rural school system…

“Every Day Is A New Beginning”: Lela Gordon Mouton and St. Katharine Drexel’s Rural School At Prairie Basse, Louisiana. By Richard Fossey and Nancy Autin.
St. Katharine Drexel established two dozen small schools in South Louisiana to serve rural communities of African-American Catholics during the 1920s and 1930s...

The Diocese of Durango and the Rise of the Mexican Church: The Last Decade of Spanish El Paso, 1811-1821. 
By Rick Hendricks.

One of the most important aspects of the rise of the local Mexican Church in the period of the war for independence from Spain was the move toward secularization (which in effect was also Mexicanization) of the missions of New Mexico, beginning with El Paso...

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