320 Year Old Santa Cruz Church Publishes 2nd Edition Book


320 Year Old Santa Cruz Church Publishes 2nd Edition Book

By Robert A. Naranjo

SANTA CRUZ – La Villa Nueva de la Santa Cruz de la Canada de los Españoles Mexicanos de Nuestro Rey Senor Don Carlos Segundo,”  (The New Villa of the Holy Cross of the  Canyon of the Spanish-Mexicans of our Lord King Don Carlos the Second), and with that impressive and lengthy title, New Mexico Governor Don Diego de Vargas established the second Villa in New Mexico in 1695 during the re-settlement period after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Settlers and priests returned 12 years later in 1692 led by Governor De Vargas and more with arrived with the founding of Santa Cruz.

A new book, “La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada, 1695-2015” and “Centuries of Faith” DVD, is at the publisher and delivery is only weeks away. This book {and DVD} is the 2nd Edition addendum and follows “LA IGLESIA DE SANTA CRUZ DE LA CANADA 1733-1983” which was about the 250th anniversary of the church at it current location. The 2nd edition includes the DVR for $50 plus $5 shipping if ordered now. For information on ordering the new book and DVR or visit www.hcccsantacruz.org. A committee of comprised of parishioners worked long and hard with support from Fr. Javier, Fr. Blanc, Fr. John, and other area clergy and many other people to make the 2nd Edition possible.

Fr. Javier Gutierrez, SF, Pastor at the Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada told the Valley Daily Times, “I’ve seen the blue line (publisher term for a copy before it’s printed), and the book is amazing,” he said with pride. “It’s going to bring joy to the old timers here at Santa Cruz, and to everyone who reads it,” he added.  And in a hopeful tone, he concluded, “Maybe it will be exciting enough to help bring faith back.”  

Gene Montoya, a long-time member and former acolyte at the Iglesia de Santa Cruz,  was asked by the Valley Daily Post what he thought of the 2nd edition book coming out. He quickly responded, “Updating the history of the faith of our people will be useful,” he said. “I’m very glad to see that the 2nd edition of the book will add to what was not in the 1st edition,” he added.

Christine Bustos, a member of the Iglesia de Santa Cruz, and lector for over 15 years said, “I’m very proud of the history of the Santa Cruz Church,” she began. “That’s a big reason why I’ve helped where I’m needed. I think the 2nd edition book will be a wonderful teaching tool to those who are unfamiliar with the Santa Cruz Church and the historical community of Santa Cruz itself,” she said. “I’ve already ordered mine and I can hardly wait for their delivery,” she said with a smile.

Santa Cruz (Holy Cross), as it became known, was first established in the present-day community of Sombrillo, a suburb of Espanola which itself was one of many railroad towns established in New Mexico during the arrival of the railroad in the 1880’s. Railroad builders bypassed Santa Cruz and built the tracks on the west side of the Rio Grande in an area known as the Vega de los Vigiles, (Vigil’s Meadow).

Santa Cruz began to lose prominence as trade and commerce flourished with its new neighbor to the west. The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway (D&RG), known as the “Chili Line” spurred the growth of Espanola, while the Santa Cruz Plaza, built in the fortified style typical of the Spanish Colonial era, began to deteriorate to the point that is does not appear like a typical Plaza today.  Eventually, the new railroad town of Espanola caught up to Santa Cruz about 1OO years later. Santa Cruz, Governor DeVargas’s important second Villa in 1695, became part of another town’s city limits just under 3OO years later.  It became part of the city limits of Espanola, it’s wild railroad days neighbor that aggressively incorporated many of the area’s communities in the 197O’s and 8O’s.

Of New Mexico’s three Villas – La Villa Real de San Francisco de la Santa Fe, La Villa de Albu{r}querque, and La Villa Nueva de la Santa Cruz de la Canada – only Santa Cruz remained a quiet, unassuming community with a historic church as its anchor. Santa Fe became the Capital of New Mexico and Albuquerque became the state’s largest city and close to the top 5O metros in the U.S.

The 2nd Edition of the book on La Iglesia de Santa Cruz will prove to be a collector’s item in the future as the 1st Edition has become.  Order information can be found within this story if you want to order the book now or go the website already provided.

 Although just a quiet community today, Santa Cruz has played a major role in the settlement of New Mexico beginning with its founding as a Villa in 1695. Ancestors of those brave and hardy settlers of hundreds of years ago can still be found here today, albeit, with their nose in a Smartphone. Times have, indeed, changed. Fascinating!