San Antonio, Texas is the most visited city in Texas and many people want to live there because of its affordable living scene. Aside from that, it is also the home of the second oldest park in the whole United States as well as where San Antonio Zoo is located.
San Antonio is also visited for being the home of the professional basketball team of the Spurs, the Alamo, the Six Flags Fiesta, and the oldest church in Texas – San Fernando Cathedral. The San Fernando Cathedral is actually not just known for being the oldest church in Texas but also one of the most haunted places in the area.
San Fernando Cathedral as seen from the outside. (Link: https://sfcathedral.org/)
History of San Fernando Cathedral
The San Fernando Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria and Guadalupe is a cathedral for the Roman Catholics. It is located in the downtown area and it faces the city’s Main Plaza.
A portrait of the San Fernando Cathedral when it was first built. (Link: https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/san-fernando-cathedral/)
The San Fernando Cathedral was built sometime between 1738 and 1750 and it was named after Ferdinand III of Castile. It was noted above that the church is also named after the Lady of Candelaria because the cathedral was actually built by the settlers from the Canary Islands. The patroness of Canary Island is Virgin of Candelaria. More on the people from Canary Islands, they had a difficult time traveling from Spain to San Antonio. They were promised land grants that is why they travelled to San Antonio but they were just tricked by the King of Spain so that they can claim the area as their territory before the French did. The people from Canary Islands then had no choice but to build their homes and other establishments in the area.
The Virgin of Candelaria in San Fernando Cathedral. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com.tw/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60956-d145405-i182421696-San_Fernando_De_Bexar_Cathedral-San_Antonio_Texas.html)
Although the walls of the San Fernando Cathedral remain to be the same walls that were built in the aforementioned years, the cathedral underwent a massive restoration in 2003. It cost around $15 million for the renovation. During the renovation, a rectory, a new Cathedral Centre, a small cafeteria, counselling rooms, museum, gift shop, reception area, television control room, a community center, and many more were added.
Inside the San Fernando Cathedral. (Link: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/oldest-church-tx/)
After the major renovations, the San Fernando Cathedral has been visited by many people and the cathedral was used for many events like the annual Fiesta Week and the staging of the Good Friday Passion Play. Every weekend, there are around 5,000 people who join the masses. Hundreds of funerals, weddings, and baptisms also take place at the church every year.
Important Events At The San Fernando Cathedral
In 1831, James Bowie, who played a huge role in the Texas revolution, married Ursula de Veramendi at the San Fernando Cathedral.
James Bowie in an undated photo. (Link: James Bowie in an undated photo)
Five years later, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna raised a flag of no quarter from the tower of the church to mark the start of a siege.
In 1987, the San Fernando Cathedral was visited by Pope John Paul II and it was very important because it was the only papal visit to Texas.
A photo of Pope John Paul II visiting the San Fernando Cathedral in 1987. (Link: https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/religion/article/S-A-to-mark-beatification-by-recalling-John-1359326.php)
Bodies Buried Under The San Fernando Church
A total of 189 defenders tried to fight for the independence of Texas from Mexico and this was known as the Fall of Alamo. The siege lasted for 13 days and no one survived it.
After Texas received its independence, Colonel Juan Seguin decided to bury the corpses of those who died in another battle under the San Fernando Cathedral. Some said that this was not true but in 1936, it was proven that what Colonel Seguin did was actually the truth because a box was unearthed while renovations were ongoing. The box showed charred bone, nails, and tattered uniforms. Since then, a marble tomb was placed in the southeastern corner of the cathedral where the remains of the relics of the heroes of Texas have been stored.
A sign talking about the remains buried under the San Fernando Cathedral. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lewisshepherd/5908059972)
The Ghosts Of San Fernando Cathedral
Being the oldest church in San Antonio, it is understandable that the San Fernando Cathedral is haunted. Here are the ghosts that are said to be seen in the area.
The people of Canary Islands had a war with the Lipan Apache people. They had battles and it became frequent. The Apaches were later attacked by the horsemen of the Comanche people and that was when the Apaches and the people of Canary Islands buried the hatchet. It was literally burying the hatchet for them because the Apaches buried their weapons as well as a live white horse in front of the San Fernando Cathedral. That white horse is reportedly the same ghost of a white horse seen galloping in front of the church.
Also, people have claimed to have seen faces that appear in the exterior walls of the church. Former priests as well as the people who fought for Texas’s independence were buried under the San Fernando Cathedral and many believe that the faces that appear in the walls are theirs. Orbs floating around the church are also seen and it is believed to be the energies of those buried under the cathedral.
The dark figure of a man has also been seen on different occasions at the San Fernando Cathedral. A guest on tour at the church said that she was listening to their guide talk about the church but as she stood there, she saw a man who seemed to be following them. That man later disappeared and the visitor described the said man. The visitor said the man was wearing an all-black clothing like it was a dress from the 18th century. Many have witnessed the same apparition but it is unclear to whom this ghost belongs to.
Some also claimed to have seen ghostly figures wearing monk’s clothing and their hoods covered their faces. It is believed that these ghosts are the former monks that have served the San Fernando Cathedral. These monks are said to be the most frequently spotted ghosts in the cathedral.
Do you want to see these ghosts? Visit the San Fernando Cathedral today! There are self-guided and guided tours every day of the week.