The Ysleta Mission is considered the first and oldest mission established in the State of Texas and the second oldest continually active parish in the United States. This Mission resides in the heart of the Tigua Indian community, where culture and faith run strong.
In 1680, founders Rev. Fray Francisco Ayeta and New Mexico governor Don Antonio Otermin established temporary camps for Spanish refugees and Tigua Indians fleeing from the New Mexico pueblos. That same year, Father Juan de Zavaleta celebrated the area’s first Catholic mass and the community built a temporary church on that location made of cottonwood branches and adobe mud.
In 1682, the Tigua Indians established and built a permanent mission from adobe and Bishop Salpointe, of Tucson, dedicated the building in October 1682.
Throughout its historical existence, the structure has been threatened by storms and natural disasters and the original structure has evolved. The original building was washed away in the disastrous flood of 1740 but a new structure was erected between 1740-1744. In 1844, the building was victim to yet another flood and another church was constructed on higher ground in 1851. Its once rectangular shape was modified with the addition of the distinct beehive bell tower in 1897 but in May 1907 a tragic fire destroyed the roof and bell tower. The mission’s thick adobe walls and shiny silver dome survived the fire and the parishioners immediately went to work and repaired the damages within a year. The silver dome roof of the mission has become a continual reminder of the community’s strength and faith.
Members of the community and tourists frequently visit the mission to honor and celebrate the faith, history and culture of the area.
131 S. Zaragosa Rd.
El Paso, Texas 79907