San Fernando De, San Antonio
San Fernando Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in the downtown San Antonio, Texas. It serves as a geographical and cultural centre of the city of Antonio. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. Also known as the church of Nuestra Senora del Cathendria of Guadalupe, the cathedral has been listed in the National Register of Historic places.
The cathedral was built between 1738 and 1750, making it the oldest church in the state of Texas. The church was built by settlers from Canary Islands. It was named after Ferdinand III, a ruler in the 13th century. In 1836, the church played a major role in the Battle of Alamo. The beginning of the siege was marked by a flag raised on the church by Antonio Lopez with the words ‘no quarter’.
In 1868, the existing nave was added to expand the cathedral while in 1874 the carved stone station of the cross was added. 1920 saw the addition of the stained glass windows. In 2003, major renovation was undertaken worth $15 million; the project occurred in three phases.
During the first phase, the foundation and structure of the cathedral was restored. The Alter was moved to the centre of the church to enhance service experience during mass. The baptism font was relocated to the main aisle. The rectory was replaced by a new cathedral center during the second phase of the project. It houses the cafeteria, museum, cancelling rooms, a reception room and a television control center.
Finally, the community centre was constructed during the third phase to house church offices, a hall, social services, meeting rooms, and residence for priests.
Fun Facts about San Fernando Cathedral
Before Texas got its independence, San Fernando was the only recognized parish in San Antonio for many decades. Based on Juan N report of 1889, a tomb containing the remains of the Alamo heroes exists in the church. However, according to the Texas Historical Association, it is almost not certain that the tomb exists.
Remains were discovered in the cathedral when construction crews were making repairs in 1936. The tomb of Congressman Henry B Gonzalez was removed from the cathedral in 2000. The cathedral has three patron saints: the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin of Candelaria and San Fernando.
The church is opened from 6am to 6pm, mass is held throughout the week and the Sunday mass can be watched online. More than 10 funerals, 10 weddings and 900 baptisms take place annually in the cathedral. A statue of Pope John Paul II was built in the cathedral to commemorate his visit to St. Antonio.
Mini versions of the statues are sold in the gift shop located in the cathedral.There is a 24 minute film that shows the history of St Antonio and runs on the façade of the San Fernando Cathedral. It is shown at 9, 9.30 and 10 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. San Fernando is the only tourist attraction site in San Antonio with a 5 star rating on Yelp.