Dir., Office of Worship
On November 15th the Franciscan friars of the St. Peter and St. Paul Province of Michoacan, Mexico celebrated an important event in its history, for it was on Nov.15, 1565 that the province received canonical approval.
The Order of Friars Minor, or Franciscans, was established in 1209 to serve as disciples of St. Francis of Assisi. Franciscan priests have been present in the Paso del Norte region since the beginnings of European settlement in the New World, arriving with the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century.
In the Americas, the Franciscans established missions as outposts of settlement to prepare Native Americans for life in the Spanish community and to evangelize them for the Church.
The presence of the Franciscans remained in Paso del Norte until the 1840s when Mexican jurisdiction over Catholic churches in Texas ended after Texas became part of the United States.
The Franciscans returned to the El Paso region as a result of the Mexican Revolution and the subsequent persecution of the Catholic Church by the Mexican government.
After 1910, a wave of religious refugees entered the Diocese of El Paso from Mexico, including Franciscan friars. Two of the institutions created by Franciscan refugees were St. Anthony and Roger Bacon Seminaries.
St. Anthony Seminary was founded by Mexican Franciscans of the Sts. Peter and Paul Province from Michoacan, Mexico, who first moved their seminary to Hebbronville, Texas, in 1926.
After more Franciscans and seminarians fled Mexico, they asked permission of Bishop Anthony J. Schuler to move the seminary to El Paso. On Jan. 1, 1936, the Franciscans opened St. Anthony Seminary in the former McNary home in the Austin Terrace neighborhood.
St. Anthony Seminary remains a house of formation for Mexican Franciscans and the friars at St. Anthony Seminary are in charge of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on Alabama Street and St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Doniphan Road.
In the course of 68 years, many priests who form the Saints Peter and Paul Province of Michoacan have been formed. The seminary continues its mission for the glory of God and the extending of God’s kingdom among the people of El Paso.