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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday

Holy Week is important to devout Catholic New Mexicans, who attend mass most days this week. When the Spanish came to New Mexico in 1598 they brought Franciscan friars with them, making this state's Christian community older than Jamestown or Plymouth Rock.

Each little village has its church and most of them have been kept in good repair by the community members themselves. One person is often named or elected the mayordomo for the church, someone who cleans and arranges for repairs or upgrades. I had a chance to visit our local church which has had extensive repairs and improvements in the past several years spearheaded by Mayordomo Becky.

The trim is painted blue as is the custom in New Mexico. I have heard that blue around the windows keeps away evil. Some people say it brings good luck. No matter, it looks beautiful against the earthen colors of the adobe.

Notice the window? Even though it isn't real, someone thought the church needed one up there. Talented local artisans do many of the repairs.

The church's bell is protected by chicken wire to deter birds.

This is the church's real window. The cemetery surrounds the front and sides of the church and is itself a wonder to behold. In the window's reflection is the grave of a WWII veteran.

Inside, the church is full of colorful folk art, Stations of the Cross framed in punched tin, hand made altar and chairs, a Spanish style Christ on the Cross, and paintings of saints important to the area. The floor and kneelers are teal blue, an excellent decision by Becky.

This church has significance to Ernest, too, because his ancestors worshiped here and many are buried in the cemetery. Besides, Becky is his sister, so there's another link.


  1. my goodness! what a wonderful little church. is it o.k. to take pictures of the inside? i love the history and the contemporary linkage....

  2. When I saw the inside a couple weeks ago, I didn't have my camera. When I took the outside photos the other day, the door was locked. I will check with Becky about pics next time I see her. I have some interesting cemeteries to see, too.


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