More than 100 years before my home state, Minnesota, was granted statehood, San Fernando was founded by 56 Canary Islanders in 1731. The Patroness of Candelaria is one of several outstanding retablos found in the main chapel. The original front of the church was replaced with a large French Gothic addition in 1868. Notably, Pope John Paul II visited San Fernando Cathedral in 1987. A marble coffin to the left of the east entrance is the sarcophagus of the Defenders of the Alamo. The remains were found buried under the sanctuary in 1936.