Calatayud Garces – Priest

Garces was a Spanish missionary, preacher, and explorer. He was born in 1729 in Morata de Conde ND was killed in 1781 in Colorado territory while on his missions.

In 1754, he joined the Franciscan order in Calatayud. He became a priest in 1754. He was sent to Mexico and the college of Propaganda. He was on his mission to San Javier in Arizona. He was only 12 years old when Jesuits were expelled. He was enthusiastic and ambitious. He made regular expeditions to know the territory. He was reminiscent of 16-century missionaries. He learned and studied their habits.

In California

In 1771, he was in California. He reached the foothill of California sierras. In 1775, he was to the Anza expedition, with some other companions. Here they were to go to Colorado river, here they expected military. He was focusing on studying the region and rearrangements of natives for the holly message. It was through an agreement with Junta De Guerra. The dominance of Some Mexico was the real end. The evangelization of the Serra in California was a term of this agreement. Another goal was also there. It was finding the land route to California. Till then, the only sea was the route to reach this land.

His journeys

In 1775, he left the Tubac. He was on his trip to San Francisco when he came up with troops. He traveled and stayed only in the area of the cordon. He was along the Colorado river to Mojaves. It was the desert of the same name. Garces carried on till he reached the central valley of California. Crossing rivers and deserts, he reached Arizona. Here no Indian was ready to hear the message of Evangelism. So he continued to the south. He arrived in Indian cordon in 1776. There were Indians, and he was to convert them. He was a skilled priest and knew all.

His diary

This trip was fruitful. He met 25 tribes, and he started writing a journal. This diary is precious and gives an insight into his work. He was in the real Far West now. This is the title of a newspaper, which he formed while on this mission. It was mandated by his Excellency, Mr. Virrey, the governor of New Spain. There are some copies of the document left in Mexico, Franciscan archives. In the newspapers, there is an inventory of tribes. The tribes which were to receive the evangelization were included in the list. The presidios were needed to be established to have domination over the area. There was a list of roads that could connect to different areas.

His Death

The Spanish administration received a request to set up a mission in his village. Garces and his companion were sent to found the purpose. They baptized the chief. And there were some other colonies nearby. The chieftain killed Garces and his companions on July 17, 1781. He was an evangelist preacher whose life was full of struggle for a cause.

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