A photo buddy and I made another early Sunday morning foray into Tucson. While walking around the top of a parking garage, I saw the St. Augustine Cathedral, a building I’d wanted to photograph for a long time. Wandering around the adjacent courtyard I came across these fantastic doors. Photographed with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 in Tucson, Arizona, USA. HDR in Dynamic-Photo HDR.
With its Spanish influence, came the missionary priests to this territory. “The Chapel of the Royal Presidio of San Agustin in Tucson” was part of the Spanish fort built in 1776.
San Agustin began as a one room chapel with a sacristy for the priest where soldiers and civilians came to pray. As the years passed, additional rooms were added to the chapel until the 1800’s when it was no longer used.
In the 1860’s, the Bishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico sent Rev. Joseph Machebeuf to survey the condition of the church. Fr. Machebeuf reported to the Bishop that the population in Tucson was 600 and advised a priest be appointed to the area. A small house was donated to Fr. Machebeuf by the civilians and gradually took on the appearance of a church.
In 1866, Rev. Jean B. Salpointe was appointed as pastor and work on the building began in earnest. Two years passed before the Church or Cathedral, as it was called even then, was completed.
In 1966, 100 years after the coming of Bishop Salpointe, time had taken its toll on the church and the Mother Church of the Diocese became unsafe for worshippers.
The restoration began in 1966, completed in 1968 and the event coincided with 100 years of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Arizona and the 100th anniversary of the completion of the original church of San Agustin.
The St. Augustine Cathedral complex has been transformed and renamed the Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita (after the priest who served the community for 50 years). The focal point of the new Mexican-tiled and landscaped plaza is a striking wrought-iron band shell adorned with colorful, metal flowers and butterflies.
St. Augustine’s Cathedral continues to serve its faithful parishioners and all Roman Catholics of the Diocese in Tucson. Sunday masses include a mass with mariachi music.
“Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita” has been featured in:
TIME GATES/October, 2010