National Park Service honors Jesuit missionary with legacy day

Jan 13, 2016 577

By Nancy Wiechec

Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, an Italian missionary to the American Southwest known as the "Padre on Horseback," was honored Jan. 10 at the Tumacacori National Historical Park with Kino Legacy Day. The celebration of the priest -- who founded 24 missions and was also known as an astronomer, builder, mapmaker, linguist, agriculturalist and stockman -- kicked off the yearlong celebration of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary.

Bob Love, superintendent of Tumacacori National Historical Park, said Father Kino played a key role in the park's story. But that morning, park rangers left much of the storytelling to Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, whose diocese covers the land that Father Kino crisscrossed, building his missions when he traveled more than 15,000 miles by horseback.

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