Dedicated to Saint Joseph, the mission was built in 1699. San Jose Mission is built in the early Pueblo – style architecture, and unlike other missions of the same period, is constructed of field stone, adobe, mortar, and plaster. The interior white plaster is renewed regularly. The inside of the massive walls measure 105 feet by 22 feet, and the only openings in the fortress like structure are the doorway and a small window in the upper front below the twin bells, which are set in the parapet.
San Jose is famous for its interior decoration. Original Laguna art and rare early Spanish paintings adorn the walls and altar. The ornately carved wooden doors welcome visitors year round. Mural in red, green, yellow, and black decorate the earthen walls. The ceiling above the sanctuary is painted with Laguna symbols of a rainbow, the sun, moon, and stars. The large animal skin which covers the altar contains an abundance of multi-colored designs. All the woodwork in the mission is elaborately carved, including the vigas of the latticed ceiling. A flight of steep, narrow steps leads to the choir loft and the small window, which provides for a fine view of the pueblo below.
To get to Laguna, take exit 114 off I-40 between Albuquerque and Grants, Church tours are offered daily. The Gift Shop is open 9 am to 3 pm. for more information please call San Jose Mission at 505-552-9330 or write PO Box 1000, Laguna, NM 87026