Thursday, January 6, 2011

San Sebastion del Oeste Church Tour

This is Chapter 3 or 4 in my I Should Have Been Born Catholic series! Since moving to the Southwest, I've been fascinated by the ornate interiors and architecture of Catholic missions and churches. The church in San Sebastion del Oeste was no exception.

I grew up Baptist and the focal point in our church was a plain wooden pulpit and window with curtains covering the River Jordan baptismal scene. Very plain Jane. We lived a block away from the small Catholic Church, but I can't ever remember stepping through the doors. My minute knowledge of Catholicism included the facts that they couldn't eat meat on Fridays, the children had to study very hard for their first communion, and they seemed to have a get out of (jail) school pass for several extra days a year. That last fact, of course, was paramount in my mind.

The Catholic Church in San Sebastion del Oeste, dedicated to San Sebastian, was originally built in the 1600s, but was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1868. In ornateness, this church doesn't really compare to other missions I've visited, but it's still beautiful!

The bell tower shot from Gregoria's upstairs window.

It was hard to get a good exterior shot since the church is surrounded by a wall. One book referred to it as a walled fortress.

The sign above the door reminds visitors that the sanctuary is a place of worship.

Beautiful altar.

Breathtaking ceiling and chandeliers!

Statue in the courtyard.

Another ornate altar.


drgeo said...

Do I detect an urge to go shopping for a new mantilla?

Moongrl722 said...

You guys had a River Jordan Baptismal Scene?!?! That was wayyyy too showy for the Church of Christ in Jenks, Oklahoma, where I was forced to attend church growing up. Jealous...
Maybe that is the reason we are both fascinated by ornate churches. Norte Dame, St. Pauls, Westminster Abby, St. Patricks, oh, I love 'em all!! Did you notice that the cross on the bell tower looks like it might be a combination cross and tv antennae? Just a thought. Thanks for the pics! Love 'em!

Life's a Beach! said...

Jana, did you and Craig compare Church of Christ notes on Isla? I remember commenting to his parents after my first Church of Christ service that someone should donate an organ. HA! Nothing like alienating the in-laws right off the bat! While the River Jordan print was quite striking, I think the actual baptismal font was a horse tank? Cue Mr. Ed.

drgeo, I usually just sit on the bench in the zocalo and watch people come OUT of the church, so I won't be needing the mantilla. HA!

Ann said...

Beautiful! I was brought up Congregational--very plain jane also--all white & hard pews!

Anonymous said...

I was baptized Catholic - my Daddy was Catholic - and went to the Catholic church until I was 6 or 7. We stopped going because the service was in Spanish (Texas) and my Dad couldn't understand it. This was in a tiny town.

I also taught in a Catholic school for a year - every Friday and students and teachers had to go to mass.


When Dad died his rosary service and his funeral were in the Catholic church - my parents were living in Nebraska at the time. The service was beautiful and very, very moving. There is something to say about the very old, traditional religions.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - don't know why my post showed up so combobulated!


Isla Deb said...

I love the churches in Mexico. It would be fun to do a photography project just on that. Great photos!

Life's a Beach! said...

Ann, I also love New England churches with the tall steeples and white pews. Jeanne, I've always been attracted to the ritual in the Catholic service. Deb, one of these days I'm going to take the inland tour of the Yucatan and check out the churches in that area!