Oldest Church in America

In Santa Fe the oldest church building in America still stands and has been in continuous use since 1610. Catholics from Spain founded the San Miguel Church in 1610. The church still hosts worship and mass, in a city that has dozens of other active religions, including Protestant Christians, Buddhists, Pueblo Indian Tribes, Jews as well as a few Hindus and Muslims.

I spoke to Brother Lester Lewis, F.S.C., Mission Director and asked him about the reasons for the longevity of the San Miguel church. At one point he said: “We have learned to be more tolerant and more educated in the way we respond to others. Love and tolerance is the key for survival.”

I couldn’t resist asking him about the current controversies in the Catholic Church at large and he said: “Most of our Bishops have not spoken out boldly. We need to make changes and our pulpits have been too weak on moral issues.”

I asked him about the church’s stand on war and peace, and he said: “Pax (peace) is central to the Christian message. Our priests know that the Pope stands for peace. But many have been weak and fearful of speaking up for peace. We must be more aggressive and do better.” After speaking to this devout man, I believe there is hope for the Catholic Church to regain its prestige. There is always hope when good men are willing to stand up for truth.