A family affair: restoring the San Xavier mission, one generation at a time
Reporter: Rikki Mitchell
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Morales family knows the San Xavier Mission well -- they have been helping to restore the church for more than 60 years.
"We've been here since 1947 off and on," says Daniel Morales. "We're not the only ones who did work here, but my son Vincent is the fifth generation."
And Vincent started helping out when he was only five years old.
"It's just in the blood of the family," says Vincent. "We've been here so long it's kind of a second home to us."
The current project involves stripping off cement and addressing erosion that would have eventually caused the church to crumble down.
And that same cement coming down today, was put there by Daniel's grandfather in 1953.
"We're very proud of that, being able to continue working on it," says Daniel. "We also work with the Tohono O'odham people who actually built the church, so it's been nice."
They expect to finish this project in the summer, and then move on to the east tower which Daniel says is in dire need of work.
"It's starting to get pretty bad," he says.
And as one project ends and another gets ready to begin, the Morales family says seeing the evolution of this architectural landmark is what makes the work worth it.
"Just getting it back to the way it was originally as close as we can is really nice," says Daniel. "It's been altered in the last 100 years... and we're bringing it back to the original way it was."
"To have the opportunity to work on it, it's like no other feeling to even dream of," says Vincent. "To know that you are putting your hard work to make it better, it's exciting. And to know that it will last another 200 years hopefully."
For more information on the history and restoration efforts of the church, visit the website for the San Xavier Mission.