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Diocese of Tucson

Suffragan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe

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Tucson, Diocese of (TUCSONENSIS), suffragan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It comprises the State of Arizona and the southernmost counties of New Mexico, an extent of 131,212 sq. miles, most of which is desert land. The Catholic population is approximately 48,500, mostly Mexicans. There are 43 priests, 27 parishes, 43 missions, 100 stations, 7 academies, 10 parochial schools, 3 Indian schools, 1 orphanage, 5 hospitals.

Up to 1853, date of the Gadsden purchase, Arizona was part of the Mexican Diocese of Durango. In 1859 it was annexed by the Holy See to the Diocese of Santa Fe, made a vicariate Apostolic in 1868, and erected a diocese by Leo XIII in 1897. The first vicar Apostolic was the most Rev. J. B. Salpointe, followed by the Most Rev. P. Bourgade, who both died archbishops of Santa Fe, the former in 1898, the latter in 1908. They were succeeded by Bishop Henry Granjon, born in 1863, consecrated in the cathedral of Baltimore, June 17, 1900. The mission founded by French missionaries has remained in charge of priests mostly of the same nationality, assisted by Franciscan Fathers of the St. Louis and Cincinnati provinces, who attend principally to the Indian missions, and by the Sisters of St. Joseph, of Mercy, of Loretto, of the Blessed Sacrament, of St. Dominic, and of the Precious Blood. The full-blood Indians in the diocese number 40,000: Apache, Chimehuivi, Hualpai, Maricopa, Mohave, Moqui, Navajo, Papago Pima, Yava Supai. About 4000 are Catholics. They were visited by the Spanish missionaries as early as 1539 (Fray Marcos de Niza), and evangelized in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the Franciscans and the Jesuits. Of the churches then built two remain: Tumacacuri (now partly in ruins), and San Xavier del Bac, nine miles south of Tucson, founded by Father Kino, S.J., in 1699, and kept in a perfect state of preservation by the constant attention and liberal care of the clergy of Tucson. It is considered the best example of the Spanish Renaissance mission style north of Mexico, and the best preserved of all the old mission churches in America. The buildings have been completely restored (1906-10) by the Bishop of Tucson. The Papago Indians, in whose midst stands the San Xavier mission, have received uninterrupted care from the clergy of Tucson. In 1866 the Rev. J. B. Salpointe founded there a school, which has since been maintained, with the Sisters of St. Joseph in charge, by the clergy of Tucson, at the expense of the parish. That school was the first established in Arizona for the Indians.

HENRY GRANJON


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