Mescalero, New Mexico: Saint Joseph’s Apache Mission
History of Saint Joseph’s Apache Mission:
The Mission began humbly in 1916, when a young Franciscan, Father Albert Braun, O.F.M., arrived and saw the need to replace the old adobe structure here with something more permanent. His plans were interrupted when he went to Europe as an Army chaplain in World War I. Upon his return, he was determined to build the church after the pattern of the grand Cathedrals in Europe to serve the Apache people as well as a memorial for those who died in the war. He had no money for the project, other than $100 from his Army pay, but began his task with great faith. With the help of many, he obtained his objective.
Later, Father Albert served as a chaplain once again, this time during World War II. He survived 3 1/2 years in a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines and then returned to Mescalero. Later he was transferrred to Phoenix, Arizona where died at the age of 93. He is buried in the Sanctuary here.
About Saint Joseh’s Apache Mission today:
Over the years, time and weather had caused the Mission to fall into dis-repair. In 1998, a commission was formed to help restore the building. Work is on-going, but the results are beginning to show.
There are approximately 350 families in the parish. Sunday Mass is celebrated at 10:30 am. Daily Mass is usually celebrated Tuesdays through Fridays at 12 noon in the side chapel. The church is open every day and visitors are welcome.
Among the many points of interest are the Stations of the Cross, that were brought from the Philippines and mounted on backgrounds painted by a local parishioner, Bruce Klinekole II. The icon of the Apache Christ above the altar in the front of the Mission was painted for the Mescalero Apache people in 1989 by artist Robert Lentz of Albuquerque, NM.
Today, the Mission remains an active parish church, with 385 parish families and thousands of visitors from around the world. It is an important center for community activities. There is a gift shop with many Native American items for sale, as well as an information center.
Traveling to Saint Joseph’s Apache Mission:
Address: 626 Mission Trail Mescalero, NM 88340
Tel: +1 (575) 464-4473
Click here for the official website of Saint Joseph’s Apache Mission in Mescalero, N.M.
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