Thursday Doors – Cathedral of San Fernando

Cathedral of San Fernando

Tomorrow at noon, the company I work for will cut us loose for a three-day-weekend that unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Officially, it’s Memorial Day weekend in the US, a weekend when we honor the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. It might be more about picnics and travel and golf, these days, but I always try to set aside some time to remember why we have Monday off. With that official meaning in mind, I saved today’s doors from my visit to San Antonio.

The second day I was in San Antonio, I had a couple of hours free in the morning. I decided to walk around and see some of the sights we floated under on the barge tour. One of the buildings I spent some time studying was the Cathedral of San Fernando, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria and Guadalupe. At first I thought it might be a good place to collect a few photos of doors. As I got closer, I realized this cathedral was much more important. I also saw a sign that made me smile – “Visitors Welcome.” Below is some interesting history (adapted from Wikipedia).

The original church of San Fernando was built between 1738 and 1750. The walls of that church form the sanctuary of today’s cathedral, which supports the claim of being the oldest cathedral in the State of Texas. The church was named for Ferdinand III of Castile, who ruled in the 13th century. The baptismal font, believed to be a gift from Charles III, who became King of Spain from 1759, is the oldest piece of liturgical furnishing in the cathedral. The cathedral was built by settlers from the Canary Islands, for this reason, in the interior is a picture of the Virgin of Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary Islands.

In 1836, the cathedral, still a parish church, played a role in the Battle of the Alamo when Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna hoisted a flag of “no quarter” from the church’s tower, marking the beginning of the siege.

On September 13, 1987, Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral during the only papal visit to Texas.

The cathedral is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, but unfortunately, the records have not yet been digitized.

The cathedral is remarkable for so many reasons, but I thought I would post the photos in proximity to Memorial Day because of a special artifact housed in the left entrance. There is a tomb that states it is the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, Jim Bowie and the other defenders of the Alamo.

The legitimacy of this claim is questionable, for a variety of reasons so, for today, I’m going to simply acknowledge the existence of the tomb and leave it at that.

The battle of the Alamo preceded the earliest recorded official decoration of a soldier’s grave – the practice that gave rise to Decoration Day, which later became Memorial Day. And, in fact, there may have only been a mass grave near the Alamo, if anyone had desired to decorate it. Still, people have decorated the graves of the honored dead throughout time, so I think my purpose in including these facts about this cathedral is valid.

In keeping with the more solemn tone of Memorial Day, I’ll simply note that this post is part of the fun weekly blogfest known as Thursday Doors. The event is arranged and supported by Norm Frampton. If you would like to participate, or if you would like to view the doors presented by other participants, visit Norm’s wonderful photography site. Look at Norm’s doors and then look for the blue frog. Click the frog to enter the list of this week’s participants and the option to add your doors.

For my readers in the US, I will leave you with a quote by former President Harry S. Truman regarding the meaning behind the holiday we are about to celebrate:

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” — Harry S. Truman


  1. Dan, you really missed your calling as an historian. You are so good at it. Once again, I am nostalgic about San Antonio. Especially that breakfast taco. My faborite is always bean, egg and cheese. Miss those hand rolled tortillas! I do wish you’d had a photo of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is a particular favorite of mine. No, I’m not Catholic. She is just very special. Great Thursday post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this Cheryl. I took pictures of doors at the Alamo, with the expectation of using them today. Then I discovered this church (a church that serves breakfast tacos) and I had to use these instead. I wasn’t sure what was going on inside, so I didn’t stay long.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judy. Maddie conned us into sitting with here three times yesterday, so I’m pretty sure she’ll get her walks this weekend. It’s OK, it’s good exercise for us, too.

      I hope you have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that your Thursday Doors posts are are always as much about providing a door to the past as presenting present-day phototgraphs of real hinged openings to pass through :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I look at that beautiful building (and doors!) that has lasted for hundred of years. It was built with determination and grit and hand tools. With all our technology and arrogance today we do not build as well. Soldiers are the ones running TO the fight so we can be safe. Bless them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another interesting history lesson. Impressive courtyard. I love that the church serves breakfast tacos! Really like the postcards. Perfect post for Memorial Day.

    Perhaps the best way we can honor all those brave men and women who have fought for our country’s freedom, some of whom died on the battlefield, is to acknowledge and thank all those who continue to follow in their footsteps to keep us free.

    Wishing you all a truly relaxing, fun-filled weekend, including happy walks with Maddie.

    And for Pete’s sake Dan, if you’re barbecuing, try to keep “that finger” away from the hot grill. Just sayin’…….
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I’m thinking of all the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price, this weekend. The people that are out there today, are never far from our thoughts.

      This will be an uncomplicated weekend. Perhaps a walk or two, few sharp objects and well-controlled fires. I hope you have a great weekend, too.


  5. Wait… a church that serves breakfast tacos? Maybe if the one that my parents attended with us kids served tacos rather than stale donuts and coffee I wouldn’t be the secularist that I am today. Lovely doors (even the closet doors are pretty) and good reminder of the importance of remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Dan – thanks for the write up and photos – and link across to Memorial weekend … it’s always good to remember the brave souls who had to create history for us, and who gave us our lives today. A place I’d love to visit and to spend some time in, in reflective contemplation. Love Lois’ comment … classic: buried, exhumed, exposed … have a happy weekend – letting that finger recover, and some decent Maddie walks … then you’ll get more smiles from her!! Enjoy yourselves – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. It is a weekend to find time to reflect on what we have, how we came to have it and who paid the price. I will be careful and sticking to simple things this weekend. If it doesn’t rain, that dog will get her walks.


  7. Wonderful pics and tribute to those that served. I chuckled at the caption, “The tomb holding the remains of Alamo survivors.” Was the tomb for those that died at the Alamo or for the survivors? :)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m here and I can see your pictures! FANTASTIC post, Dan, one that is so time appropriate for the coming holiday! Thank you for reminding people who frequent your blog the history behind Memorial Day. It’s a lot more then hotdogs and beer. This Cathedral and how you portrayed it in your images is mind-blowing! LOVED your gallery! Those soaring beams and the geometry … I can’t imagine how you felt standing inside that Cathedral. Goosebumps! May you have a truly good weekend! Cheers! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice post. I wanted to ask you this question since you are a history fan like me. Did you like history subject during your school days? As far as I’m concerned, I was not really a history fan, but I got hooked to it only after I took Literature in my college days. I love the pictures of the cathedral and the fact that I learn so much more about different churches and cathedrals and other places. Thanks for the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sharukh. I was not a fan of history in school, and I wasn’t a great student. I blame that on the fact that they didn’t tell stories. They simply related a series of events and expected us to memorize dates and statistics.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Same here. In fact, they failed me (detained me in the same class) for being not good at trigonometry and algebra in the 8th grade. Basically, I ruined a year for something that I don’t use it ever in my life.


  10. Beautiful cathedral! Am quite fond of Texas, because that was my first impression of the USA, and the people there because they helped us through culture shock. Hope you didn’t have to type up this post with one hand! Truman’s quote is excellent and so much in step with what America stands for. Enjoy Memorial weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great quote from our Missouri son ‘Give ’em Hell, Harry’ :) San Antonio is on my bucket list of places to visit. Hopefully some winter to get away from our cold weather for a spell.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Some great pics, Dan, and I’m certainly glad to see anyone focus on the real meaning of Memorial Day. I’ve been to Texas only once so far (a trip to Dallas, which gave me a chance to visit the Kennedy assassination site), but I hope to go back soon and see the many other interesting places there, such as the cathedral.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paul. I was in a hotel in Dallas with a view of that site. It made me stop and think. I’ve only ever been to Dallas and now San Antonio. So many other places to visit in that huge state.


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