Celebrating 320 Years Of Parish History

church book


Newly Published Book Celebrating 320 Years Of Parish History

Staff Report

SANTA CRUZ – The book celebrating 32O years of the existence of La Villa de Santa Cruz de La  Canada de los Epanoles Mejicanos de Nuestro Rey Senor Don Carlos Segundo, or Santa  Cruz de La Canada for short, has been published, delivered and is available Friday, Sept. 18.

 Parishoners and the public are invited to join the Santa Cruz de la Cañada Historical Working Group, Fr. Javier Gutierrez, and the Very Rev. Jesús Díaz Alonso, Superior General in celebrating this achievement. Finger Foods and music will be provided. Pre-Sale Pick-Up and New sales available to all who wish a copy of the book,

New Mexico’s first Governor, Don Juan de Oñate,settled the areas of San Juan de Los Caballeros and Santa Cruz after the colonial arrival in 1598. Settlers lived in and around the Santa Cruz area until the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Circa 1692-1693, don Diego de Vargas returned to Nuevo México and by 1695 brought 60 families to Santa Cruz, some returning, others new. The parish was established that year, and the building of a chapel followed on the south side of the Rio Santa Cruz (current day Sombrillo), but by the 1730s the need for a new church arose.

Permission was granted to build a new church on the north side of the river in which 100 families started construction in 1733. The main body took 16 years to complete. The north chapel was completed in 1760, and the south chapel in 1798. All work was conducted under the leadership of the Franciscan Priests. The first art work was done on buffalo hide, and in the 1760s, fray Andrés García created the Santo Entierro as well as some altar paintings. In addition to fray García’s artwork, the artwork of Pedro Antonio Fresquis and José Rafael Aragón is also prominently displayed throughout the church. The flat roof remained until 1900 while the dirt floors lived on a while longer until 1905. The Sons of Holy Family from Spain came in 1920 and still serve the parish today.

 In the 1970s, restoration under famous architect Nathaniel Owings began. Some of the restoration included restoring the art work and plastering the interior walls with mud (tierra blanca). In 1983, the parish self-published a 250th anniversary book (1733-1983) detailing the history of the parish. In 2014, the Santa Cruz de la Cañada Historical Working Group began work on an addendum to the 1983 book entitled La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Cañada 2nd Edition (1695-2015)-Celebrating 320 Years of Parish History. The new book includes the 1983 book in its entirety, which is currently out of print. Over 130 pages of new material (1983-2015) has been added to the addendum and features a detailed expansion of the 1707 Santa Cruz census by Henrietta Martínez Christmas and Pat Sánchez Rau, the 2012 restorations, new art work since 1983, new clergy, and a bonus DVD, produced by Dennis Chávez of New Mexico Video Services showcasing parish music, alabados, interviews, and much more.


September 18, 2015

6:00 – 8:30 PM

Marian Hall at the Santa Cruz Church