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El Paso, Texas

Catholic history of El Paso, Texas:

In 1680, several of the Pueblo clans in present day New Mexico revolted against the Spanish occupiers. After taking heavy losses in Santa Fe, the Spanish were able to flee with many of their Native American enslaved people to the El Paso Valley. Many in this group elected to stay in the area instead of returning to the Spanish provinces in Mexico. Several Catholic missionaries also stayed in El Paso.

The missionaries in 1680 established the Mission Corpus Christi de la Isleta del Sur in what is today the Mission Valley district of El Paso. The mission is considered the oldest continuously functioning parish in the United States. The same missionaries established the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción de Los Piros de Socorro del Sur near El Paso that same year. Its purpose was to serve both Spaniards and Native Americans from New Mexico. In the 1770s, missionaries built a presidio chapel at a Spanish military outpost in San Elizario.

After the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821, the new Republic of Mexico took over Texas from Spain. Eastern Texas in 1836, became the Republic of Texas, but West Texas, included the El Paso Valley, remained disputed territory.   Then, in 1848, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which brought an official end to the Mexican-American War (1846-48), was signed on February 2, 1848, at Guadalupe Hidalgo, gave the United States control of West Texas.

San José de Concordia el Alto church was erected in 1859 on the site of the present Concordia Cemetery outside of El Paso. It was the nearest Catholic church for El Paso residents at the time. Often Catholics from El Paso boarded a hand-pulled ferry across the Rio Grande River to attend mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Juárez.

Catholic places of interest in El Paso,  Texas:

El Paso Mission Trail (Ysleta Mission):

Saint Patrick Cathedral:  relics of Saint Pedro de Jesus Maldonado


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