Patronato San Xavier Recognized by Arizona’s Centennial

Patronato San Xavier has been named a recipient of one of 10 Governor’s Centennial Awards.

The awards are determined by the Arizona preservation community, and endorsed by the governor, to acknowledge “outstanding achievements in the preservation of Arizona historic and prehistoric cultural resources during the State’s first 100 years.”

The award, in part, cites Patronato for its dedication “to the restoration, maintenance and preservation of the Mission San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark.

“For 34 years now the organization has pursued this goal with determination and fervor.  For their long-term commitment to the preservation of this historic landmark, we are pleased to present the Patronato San Xavier with this Centennial Award in Historic Preservation.”

Patronato San Xavier was formed in 1978 by six Tucson community leaders who saw the need to protect the cultural icon.  Established as a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization solely to preserve San Xavier, Patronato has grown to a board of nearly 20.  One of the original founders, Bernard Fontana, remains active on the board.

“We’re very pleased to receive this award, recognizing the many years of hard work and effort by the board to raise funds and manage the project,”  said Fontana.  “It also affirms the craftsmanship and skill of our outstanding conservators and restoration experts.”

Over the course of the restoration,  Patronato has raised and spent about $10 million so far for the preservation and restoration of the church.

“Like many projects of this complexity and magnitude, there is still much to be done to insure that San Xavier will be preserved for the benefit of future generations,” said board president Charles Albanese.  “The church’s East Tower is in urgent need of restoration and intervention.”

The award will be presented at a special awards dinner as part of the Arizona Centennial Conference on April 19 in Phoenix.

This is the second time the restoration of San Xavier has been recognized by Arizona’s preservation community.  In 2006, Morales Restoration & Builders, the company that has been working on the exterior since 1989, received a  Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation from the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Arizona State Historic Preservation Office for long-term achievement.

You can see a list of all Arizona Centennial Legacy projects here.

Visit the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission Web site here.

Read the Arizona Daily Star story about the Centennial Awards.