Old San Miguel Mission, America's Oldest Church Essay

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Old San Miguel Mission America’s oldest church By Dede Laugesen The oldest still operational church in the United States is not found on the U.S. coast either east or west, but instead, like a spear thrust deep into the heart, is found near the center of the land. The chapel of San Miguel Mission, in Santa Fe, New Mexico is located just three blocks from the famous Santa Fe Plaza and is open everyday. Mass is celebrated every Sunday by the De La Salle Christian Brothers who have owned the chapel since 1859 when Archbishop Jean Baptist Lamy purchased the chapel for them to use in the education and refinement of the young boys of Santa Fe. A visit to Santa Fe is not complete if you haven’t stopped in to pray in this sacred and humble sanctuary. Unfortunately, many people who have visited Santa Fe are disappointed later to learn they had come so close to the oldest church in America, but missed visiting it because of the many other beautiful attractions also located in this place known as the “City of Holy Faith.” San Miguel Mission, was built by 700 Catholic Tlaxcalan (pronounced Tas-cal-en) Indians who ventured north in1598 from modern day Mexico with 250 Spaniards into what is now Santa Fe. They went to establish settlements and to give a peaceful Christian witness to the indigenous peoples of the area. Once their church and homes were built they would teach their crafts, skills and farming expertise to the local people as they had done in other Spanish settlements to the south. The history of the Tlaxcalan, quickly reveals why these people—the sacrificial victims of the Aztec—claim Saint Michael, the guardian angel of Jesus, as their own patron saint. Flower Wars The Tlaxcalan get their name from a Nahuatl word meaning “place of born bread.” Their nation was established in east central Mexico after A.D. 1350. In time, the Tlaxcalans came

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