SANTA CRUZ DE LA CAÑADA CHURCH

Spanish settlers first came to the Santa Cruz area around 1598 under the protection and religious charge of the San Gabriel mission in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. This settlement lasted until 1680 when a massive uprising of the Native Americans, led by the Okhay Owingeh medicine man, Pope, was successful in driving the Spanish from New Mexico. When the Spanish re-colonized New Mexico they quickly moved to regain control of the middle Rio Grande valley. In 1695 the town of "Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz de los Españoles Mejicanos de Rey Nuestro Señor Carlos Segundo" became the second town established by the Spanish (Santa Fe being the first). The present church of Santa Cruz de la Cañada was built in 1

A Place of Thanksgiving

After surviving some great crisis or recovering from an illness, many people are motivated to give thanks. In Exodus 16 and 17, we are told how Moses led the Hebrews into the desert. When the people complained that they were thirsty, God told Moses to take his rod and strike the rock at Horeb. Water poured from the rock, the people drank, and then they praised the Lord. Isn’t it strange that some people give thanks only when something good happens? It’s very easy to thank God when we get what we want, but what about when we do not? A man in a wheelchair said he came to Chimayo every year just to thank God for giving him another year of life. "When I got sick, no one gave me much hope. The do

A Place of Healing

It has been said that the discarded crutches, canes, braces, wheelchairs, and messages of thanksgiving that hang from the adobe walls in the prayer room are proof of the miracles of Chimayo. Still, while many people have left their crutches and walked away cured, the Church has never sought to officially confirm or deny any of the miracles. It has also been said that the dirt in the "pocito" replenishes itself. Yet it is common knowledge that the dirt is brought in from surrounding hillsides and, though blessed by a priest, has no special power in and of itself. What, then, should we make of these miracles? Do they really happen, or are they just imagined? A small booklet published by the So

El Pocito (the Little Well)

Visitors to El Santuario come from all over the world and represent many diverse religious and cultural beliefs. Many are pilgrims who walk long distances, sometimes barefoot, sometimes carrying large wooden crosses. Some visitors are Jews, Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists who come initially out of simple curiosity. Some are blessed with the belief that they are at a place of God that transcends those things which tend to separate us. Nearly all who come to El Santuario visit "el Pocito" which is in a small sideroom off to the side of the altar. Even the door to this room is small and most who enter must stoop. You must kneel to reach and scoop out the "tierra bendita" (sacred earth) which is in

El Rincon de Don Bernardo Abeyta Welcome Center

El Rincón de Don Bernardo Abeyta Welcome Center is a free museum and welcome center which provides narratives into the history of el Santuario and the history of both El Santuario and the Catholic Church in northern New Mexico. One of the most important aspects of that history is the role of the "penitentes" in maintaining the faith and keeping the Hispanic religious traditions alive. There are also several important exhibits of artwork. One is the exhibit of antique and contemporary "santero" art which is on permanent display in the Welcome Center. Another is a large mural depicting the discovery of the wooden cross of Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas by Don Bernardo Abeyta in 1810 which led to

Los Hermanos Penitentes

One of the most distinct and important religious societies in northen New Mexico and southern Colorado is Los Hermanos Penitentes. The full name is Los Hermanos de la Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, "The Brothers of the Pious Fraternity of Our Father Jesus of Nazareth" or sometimes La Cofradia de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, "The Fraternity of Our Father Jesus of Nazareth". This society has had a strong influence on the culture and beliefs of the small villages and towns of the Upper Rio Grande Valley. The roots of the Penitentes goes back about 800 years ago to Spain and Italy where members would practice self-flagellation and other forms of physical torment as penance

Las Posadas

Las Posadas "The Lodgings (or Accomodations)" is a nine-day ceremony, "novenario", culminating on Christmas Eve which depicts the search for lodging that Joseph and Mary undertook immediately prior to the birth of Jesus. The nine days depicts the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. This ceremony originated in Spain but now is practiced primarily in Guatemala, Mexico and the southwest U.S. Each night a procession featuring Mary, riding on a donkey, Joseph, musicians and various onlookers travel from house to house seeking shelter for the night. At each place they are refused until they reach a designated location where they are welcomed and given shelter. The procession then enters the residence

Los Matachines

Los Matachines is both a dance and a symbolic reenactment of various aspects of both the medieval Hispanic culture and the indigenous tribes that they met when they set out to conquer the New World. It is performed, in various forms, from southern Colorado to the southern most tip of Central America but is perhaps most dominant in New Mexico. The costumes worn by many of the dancers borrows elements of Moorish influence. Recall that the Moors dominated the Iberian peninsula until the end of the fifteenth century. This influence is most prominently seen in the tall, ornate headdresses worn with silk scarfs which cover the mouth and lower face and elaborately fringed scarves worn on the top of

Danza Azteca

La Danza Azteca, "The Aztec Dance", is a visual representation of the culture and art of the native people of Mexico. It does not refer solely to the Aztec people, but is rather a mixture of the various tribes and cultures that comprise Mexico. It is one of the few indiginous dances which allows women to participate. Danza Azteca is a blend of pre-Columbiana and Christian traditions and, in a real sense, is both a means of prayer and a search for integration and harmony in the world. The Azteca dancers come to Santuario twice a year. The first is during Holy Saturday. The second is during Pentacost weekend. During that time Azteca groups throughout Mexico and the United States travel to eith

Española Fiesta

Since 1934, or earlier, the city of Española has celebrated the Fiesta de Valle de Española. The main festivities occur near mid-July each year and is a remembrance of the founding of Santa Cruz de la Cañada, one of the earliest Hispanic settlements in the United States (founded in 1598) and the merging of the three main cultures that are predominant in this region, that of the Tewa Indians, the Hispanics and, later, the Anglos. The festival begins in mid-June with the dubbing of Don Juan de Oñate and the coronation of La Reina at a mass held at El Santuario de Chimayo. Don Juan de Oñate is attended by his court of young conquistadores dressed to represent the time period of the late sixteen

The Best Place on Earth

Chicago, Illinois December 2008 Arriving back in Chicago from New Mexico at the end of September 2008, I was suddenly struck by a feeling of emptiness. My heart heavy and my spirit dampened, and with a cloud of sadness lingering over my head, I knew that my time in New Mexico had come to an end. This was strangely felt more so this time than after any of the twenty-two motorcycle trips I had previously made to that enchanted state since 1990. This time a friend of mine and I visited some of the places I loved, including the one I had always held dear in my heart, El Santuario de Chimayo. Stopping at that little adobe chapel had become the highlight of each trip to New Mexico. There was alwa

Look At The Little Boy...

4 March, 2010 Santo Niño de Atocha Church, When I was very young, in the third or fourth grade, my father, Francisco, was critically ill with typhoid fever and pneumonia. The doctors didn't expect him to live and my mother went for me at school. I was outside the bedroom, my brother at the foot of the bed, when my father told him and my mom, "Go get my little girl’s chair so the little boy can sit down. Look he’s smiling and he’s taking his little hat off. Look! Get him the chair." My brother and mother looked around and my brother said, "I didn’t bring my son. There’s no one here." My father said said, "Yes, look at the boy. He’s standing there!" My father was smiling back. That night my fa

They Left the Church...

20 October 2006 Father, I called you two days ago about my daughter and her husband. They left the church about eight years ago. The whole family has talked to them many times about going to church and they never came. I have been praying for them for years, but with no luck. I had almost given up hope. Then we went on vacation last Saturday. On Sunday we were in a store and a lady told me about an old church that she thought I might like to see. It was called Santuario de Chimayo and a lot of miracles had happened there. I went to the hole in the church, knelt down on my knees, rubbed the dirt between my fingers, and prayed that my daughter and her husband would come back to the church. The

El Camino del Norte a Chimayó Pilgrimage

On 20 July 2012 a handful of peregrinos (pilgrims) left Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Denver, Colorado to embark on the first organized pilgrimage to travel along the backroads of Colorado and northern New Mexico to El Santuario de Chimayó. They hope to inspire the creation of El Camino del Norte a Chimayó, a pilgrimage route similar to that of Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of Saint James) which passes through the southern tip of France and northern Spain. The pilgrimage was organized by Anne Sieben, the "Winter Pilgrim", who has gone on a number of pilgrimages in the last several years. Padre Benito Hernandez, from Our Lady of Guadalupe, served as the peregrinos’ spiritual lea

Santa Maria de la Paz Parish Pilgrimage

The Saturday before Good Friday Typically late March or early April Presider: Rev. Daniel Balizan Contact: Eloy Basilio Gallegos 505-920-4493 Notes: 1. The pilgrimage leaves at 7:30 AM from Sacred Heart Church in Nambe. The distance is eight miles.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi Pilgrimage

The Saturday before Good Friday Typically late March or early April Presider: Rev. Adam Lee Ortega y Ortiz Contact: Carmen Dofflemeyer 505-982-3386 Notes: 1. The pilgrimage leaves at 6:00 AM from Sacred Heart Church in Nambe. The distance is eight miles. 2. From 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM the Secular Franciscan Order from Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi will wash the feet of the pilgrims.

Youth Pilgrimage Against Drugs

Since 2005 we have brought together politicians, judges, law enforcement officers, treatment providers, and the youth of our area in order to walk and pray together from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo to the Santuario de Chimayo. This has given us the opportunity to talk about the drug problems we have and the roles these different groups play in working out the solutions to these problems. We do this as we are walking and sharing on our way to El Santuario de Chimayo. Typically in the Spring Contact: Efren Sanchez 505-852-2515

The Mother’s Day Pilgrimage

History and background Typically the Saturday before Mother’s Day Director: Fr. Edmund Savilla Church of the Ascension 2150 Raymac Road SW Albuquerque, NM 87105 Office: 505-877-8550 FAX: 505-877-8508 E-mail: frsavilla@aol.com Deacon Donald Martinez Our Lady of Guadalupe Church 205 Don Fernando Street Taos, NM 87571 Work: 575-758-9208 FAX: 575-758-2745 Notes: 1. Individuals must be at least 13 years of age to participate in the pilgrimage. They must complete an application for registration. These are due to Area Leaders by the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, each year for the following year. 2. All applications must be signed and applicants attend a minimum of three ma

The 100-Mile Pilgrimage for Vocations

History and background Typically the first week of June. Director: Fr. Edmund Savilla Church of the Ascension 2150 Raymac Road SW Albuquerque, NM 87105 Office: 505-877-8550 FAX: 505-877-8508 E-mail: frsavilla@aol.com Deacon Donald Martinez Our Lady of Guadalupe Church 205 Don Fernando Street Taos, NM 87571 Work: 575-758-9208 FAX: 575-758-2745 Notes: 1. Individuals must be at least 13 years of age to participate in the pilgrimage. They must complete an application for registration. These are due to Area Leaders by the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, each year for the following year. 2. All applications must be signed and applicants attend a minimum of three mandatory m

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