Father Kino honored with tours through Arizona and Sonora

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A priest from Italy who made a big impact in the Old Pueblo is having his contributions remembered in a unique way.

Father Eusebio Kino died 300 years ago, but what he left behind still touches people in this country and our neighbors to the south.

If you've driven down Kino Parkway, or played ball at Kino Sports Park, you've seen a statue which depicts the man for whom they are named.

"The man is an extraordinary example of human being," said Father Vincente Lopez.

Three hundred years ago father Kino passed away. But not before the Jesuit priest made a huge impact on Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora.

"We carry on that tradition, that heritage. It's who we are.  And to celebrate the 300th anniversary is to be inspired by his example and follow in his footsteps," said Father Lopez.

And to mark his footsteps leaders on both sides of the border plan to offer a tour through both countries visiting different cities, landmarks and missions synonymous with Father Kino.

"We who love our Mission San Xavier recognize he laid the foundation.  We who still have Tumacacori recognize he laid the foundation," said Lopez.

But the success of the tour depends on the public interest in it. And with problems along the border and between the countries escalating these past few months.

Some may opt out, thinking it's not safe.  Mexico says otherwise.

"Sonora is the most secure state of the border with all of Mexico and U.S.," said Javier Camou from the Tourism State of Sonora.

And he says money, not violence may be a bigger obstacle to overcome.

"I think the principal problem we have in order to have more business is the economic problems they are having in the states," said Camou.

The tour will take place sometime in March and will cost between $300 and $350.