Mission Visitors to Speed World Heritage Site Nomination
By Carol Baass Sowa, Today's Catholic
A panel composed of a representative from Spain, three from Mexico, one from Canada, plus another 15 or so experts from across the United States, convened in San Antonio April 11-15 to help further the nomination of the five Franciscan missions to UNESCO’s list of recognized World Heritage Sites.Carol Baass Sowa | Today's Catholic
SAN ANTONIO • Historic Mission San José has had its share of important visitors over the centuries, including royalty and famous literary figures, but the visitors who trooped through the mission grounds on April 12 held special significance for San José and for San Antonio’s other missions — Concepción, San Juan Capistrano and San Francisco de la Espada, as well as former Mission San Antonio de Valero, known today as the Alamo.
The visitors were members of an expert panel formed to further the nomination of San Antonio’s five Franciscan Missions, including their acequia system and Rancho de las Cabras near Floresville (originally the ranch for Mission Espada), to UNESCO’s list of recognized World Heritage Sites.
“We have been working on the World Heritage nomination for over five years,” said historian Paul Ringenbach, lead writer for the forthcoming nomination document. The San Antonio Franciscan Missions, he explained, was one of 14 sites selected out of 37 applicants by the United Sates as worthy for nomination to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s international list of landmarks deemed culturally significant. From this tentative list, the United States is allowed to nominate one or two sites per year over the next ten years, with the next opening for nominations being in 2014.
“The Office of International Affairs suggested to us,” noted Ringenbach, “that one thing that might be good to help make our nomination stronger would be to convene an international panel of experts to look at our nomination and make some suggestions to make it stronger.”
This panel, composed of a representative from Spain, three from Mexico, one from Canada, plus another 15 or so experts from throughout the United States, convened in San Antonio April 11-15, with presentations, discussions and tours of the sites involved taking place from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. They included historians, archaeologists and persons with expertise in a variety of pertinent areas. Read Full Story >>