Mission San Jose was founded in 1720 and its construction completed by 1782. The mission is known as ‘queen of missions’ and is the most popular in San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. At first, the mission, also known as San Jose of San Miguel de Aguayo, was situated where Mission Conception would be built.
It was then moved east to the river near the present day Mission Park Pavilions before being relocated to its final location, west of the river at San Jose drive. According to the website of the National Park Service, the missions’ complex of stones, granary, bastions and a beautiful church was finished in the early 1780s.
The community comprised mainly of about 350 Indian neophytes. They were sustained by herds of livestock and extensive fields. In the 1820s, it was completely closed as a mission. It was then occupied by the Texan and US army, causing the dome, some walls and roofs to collapse.
An effort was initiated by the San Antonio Conservation Society in the 1920s and 1930s to restore the mission using labor from the Federal Works Progress Administration.
Features of the Mission
Outstanding features of the mission include the Rose Window, a decorative sacristy opening facing south and ornate carvings on the church façade. The Rose window is carved in limestone and corner bastions with holes for defending the complex with cannons/ muskets.
It also a granary for storing food and a mill, powered by water from an acquia. The mission also has a visitors' center with a theatre that shows a film about the mission and a gift shop from where you can buy gifts to take back home.
In April, on the last day of Fiesta, the mission hosts a parish fundraiser known as MissionFest. In mid December, a free presentation of Los Pastores is hosted in the mission. This is a folk play, dating to the mission era.
At San Jose, mass in English is celebrated on Saturdays at 5p.m and Sundays 9a.m and 10.30 a.m. Mass in Spanish is celebrated on Sundays at 7.30 a.m while a bilingual mariachi mass is celebrated on Sundays at noon.
Mission San Jose is the largest mission in the city. Visit to get a larger perspective of the Spanish architecture that was used to build the mission. You will get to understand the purpose of the missions and how the lives of Coahuiltecan Indians living under the protection and guidance of the missionaries changed.
Today, the mission has been restored to its original design and is part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Take advantage of the free-guided tour and learn how the Indians lived, how they created basic items such as bedding and how they worked as a close-knit family.
You will also get to know how the Indians made trade offs to obtain security within the walls of the missions from warring Apache tribes and the diseases brought to the region by the European settlers.