San Antonio is a city that has long been known for its religious acceptance and cooperation. This attitude has created an environment that continues to facilitate diverse religious groups to establish their own faith communities in the city. From the San Fernando Cathedral in the heart of the city center, to the Alamo and from Mission Concepción south to San Juan, San José and Espada, these structural manifestations of faith emerged around the same time as the founding of San Antonio, almost 300 years ago. Today, hundreds of years later, San Antonio has become a tourist destination for many reasons, but one of the main attractions is still its historic places of worship.
Ann Helmke, the religious liaison for the city of San Antonio, said that faith is deeply embedded in the city's DNA. Rather than leaving it up to young people, groups of clergymen from different religious traditions in San Antonio organized their own sit-ins at the Majestic Theater and other locations, helping the city to integrate more peacefully in the 1960s, Helmke said. She believes that this type of cooperative interfaith activism for justice and social causes began to define the religious communities of San Antonio from that point on. The Scientology community in San Antonio has helped many people resolve individual problems and, according to Sterzenback, has saved some marriages thanks to Scientology counseling. Learning to lean down with a clear mind is difficult, but the quiet grounds of the San Antonio Buddhist temple and the relaxing presence of Venerable Thich Phuoc Quang, the head monk, could help. All the dioceses of Texas had been suffragan seats under the San Antonio government until December 2004, when Pope John Paul II created the new ecclesiastical province of Galveston-Houston and elevated the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to metropolitan headquarters.
We have 55 congregations in San Antonio, five of which were formed in the last two years.