Exactly one day after establishing the beginning of Ysleta, Rev. Fray Francisco Ayeta and New Mexico Governor Don Antonio Otermin traveled further southeast to establish communities for the Spaniards and the Piro, Tano and Jemez Indian refugees. There began the beginnings of the Socorro community, which is considered the 2nd oldest community in the State of Texas.
The mission itself was completed in 1691 and holds the honor of being the second oldest Mission in Texas. It was the town’s first permanent adobe church but the same natural disasters that tormented the Ysleta mission destroyed the Socorro mission. The flood of 1740 and 1829 washed away the first structures that led to the construction of the present mission you see today. The current structure, built in 1843, showcases both Indian and Spanish design as well as Spanish Mission architecture. The carved cottonwood and cypress support beams, also known as vigas, were salvaged from the first mission dating back to 1691. Throughout the years, additions such as the bell tower, larger transept and sanctuary were later added.
In 1838, along with the Virgin under her title of the Immaculate Conception, Saint Michael was chosen as co-patron and protector of the people of Socorro. Although church records state that a Holguin family donated the statue to the church, the legend says that in 1838, merchants traveling from Mexico City to Santa Fe were transporting a life-size statue of Saint Michael in an ox-cart. When they reached Socorro, the cart got stuck in the mud and the oxen refused to budge. This was taken as a sign that Saint Michael wanted Socorro to be his permanent home. To this day, the statue of Saint Michael remains in its special location inside the Socorro Mission.
Every year in September, hundreds of people come together during the mission’s annual festival to celebrate the church and its special patron saint, Saint Michael.
328 S. Nevarez Rd.
El Paso, Texas 79927