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San Miguel Mission
403 El Camino Real Socorro, NM 87801

One of the most iconic and memorable structures in Socorro is the old San Miguel Mission at 403 El Camino Real. The church has a long, rich history, dating back to 1598 when Juan de Onate led 400 colonists north from Mexico. The Pilabo pueblo was located at then where Socorro is now, and the people of the pueblo helped the travelers during their arduous trip across the desolate land to the south. Onate gave the pueblo the Spanish name Socorro (for help) and the mission founded by the two Franciscan priests who remained behind when Onate continued northward became known as Nuestra Senora del Socorro (Our Lady of Perpetual Help). A small church was built on the present site in 1626 when the Church formally recognized the mission. The church was abandoned following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and fell into ruins. By the early 1800s settlers had returned to the area and rebuilt the church. The church was renamed “San Miguel” in honor of Saint Michael following an Apache raid on the village when the people who sought refuge in the church were saved as an apparition of a winged man wielding a sword chased the attackers away. The church building has undergone changes over the years, including the addition of stained glass windows, a side chapel, and a new façade and towers. The main sanctuary is currently closed to the public as it undergoes needed repairs. Mass is currently held in the parish hall or in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.