San Fernando Cathedral has always been at the center of San Antonio. It is a special place that occupies a unique position in this city and for the many visitors who come by the thousands every year.
San Fernando Cathedral was founded on March 9, 1731 by a group of 15 families who came from the Canary Islands at the invitation of King Phillip V of Spain and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas. This church was planned to be at the center of the life of this city. The Cathedral building has the added distinction of being the oldest standing church building in Texas, and for all of its more than 281 years, has been serving the people of the Archdiocese and San Antonio. For almost 95 years, San Fernando served as the church for all of the religious denominations of San Antonio as the Catholic Church was the only recognized religion of the Spanish and Mexican governments prior to Texas' independence. San Fernando has become more than the geographic center; it has become an ecumenical, cultural, civic, and service center of unity and harmony for all the God-loving people of San Antonio and beyond. San Fernando serves as a refuge for many of the poor in this area who come for help and trust their needs will be met. As the first church in the city, San Fernando has a rich history of responding to the people's needs in and around the church.
Over 5,000 participate at weekend Masses each week of the year. Over 900 baptisms, 100 weddings, 100 funerals, and countless other services are performed each year. Symphonies, concerts, and television specials are but a few of the special events held in the cathedral regularly. Hundreds of people enter the church daily to pray, visit, light a candle, or follow various devotional traditions. Tour buses arrive constantly. Each person is a part of the story of this magnificent place and a tribute to its enduring presence as the spiritual center of San Antonio.