Photo by ROBERT NARANJO / valleydailypost.com
Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe Parish Fall Festival Sept. 18 In Pojoaque
By ROBERT NARANJO
Pojoaque– The Most Very Reverend Monsignor, Father Jerome Martinez y Alire, and the parishioners of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Parish in Pojoaque, and the community of the greater Pojoaque Valley, are having their annual Fall Festival on Sunday, September 18 at the church grounds located on 9 Grazing Elk Drive in Pojoaque.
The Fall Festival kicks off with a “Saturday Night Bingo” event at the Parish Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be food and cash prizes. On Sunday, the Fall Festival begins with a “Mariachi Mass” at 10:00 a.m. This is the 25 Annual Fall Festival and is greatly anticipated by the parishioners and the area’s residents.
In an interview held on Tuesday, September 13 at the Parish, Father Martinez y Alire, who is in his fortieth (40th) year as a priest, told the Valley Daily Post that he was originally from the West Alameda section of Santa Fe. He discussed the history of the Parish dedicated to “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” or “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and the upcoming Fall Festival on Sunday starting with a 10 a.m. Mariachi Mass, but actually gearing up with the “almost religious” Bingo Night on Saturday, 6:30 p.m. at the Parish Hall. Father Martinez-Alire said that the Pojoaque church dedicated to Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe “goes way back.”
Photo shows on left, Most Very Reverend Monsignor, Father Jerome Martinez y Alire and former Archbishop Michael Sheehan, after Father Jerome Martinez y Alire's being honored with the highly distinguished title of "Most Very Reverend Monsignor" by the Pope. Courtesy Photo
Father Martinez y Alire added, “The parish goes back to the 1600’s –the roots of the parish–because it was the Indian mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Pueblo of Pojoaque and it goes back to 1699.” He said that the original church was located in the Pueblo, but fell into disrepair In the 1960’s and was replaced by the current church. He added that the Pojoaque parish “is one of the oldest in New Mexico dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
The Fall Festival
Father Martinez y Alire welcomes people from surrounding communities to come and celebrate with them during the Fall Festival at Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Parish beginning with the popular and beautiful Mariachi Mass at 10 a.m. After the mass, the entertainment will feature New Mexico music, and booths serving “traditional New Mexican” food like chicharrone, bean and chile burritos or the ever popular chile cheese burgers and more.
And, for the Festival attendees feeling a little lucky, there is the drawing for $5,000.00 at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Proceeds from the Fall Festival, according to Father Martinez y Alire, go to “youth ministeries and religious education” at the Parish. Everyone from the Pojoaque Valley, Santa Fe and the Espanola Valley are welcome and encouraged to attend. Make it a beautiful Fall Festival Sunday with your family in Pojoaque at the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Parish.
Brief History of La Virgin De Guadalupe
The image of La Virgin de Guadalupe or also known as, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, is found just about everywhere in the world that her image can be drawn, carved, painted, sewn, inked, etc. She is an important religious icon in Mexico, New Mexico, and indeed, the entire Spanish-speaking world.How did the Virgin de Guadalupe become a significant part of the religious culture in the New World? The entire story of La Virgin is exceedingly too long to be described here, but the following is brief version of the occurrence of the apparition of the La Virgin to a humble man near what is now Mexico City.
Image of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe hangs in the Rectory at the Pojoaque Parish named after “La Virgin” since 1699. Courtesy Photo
It began with an apparition to a Mexican, a Cuauhtlatoatzin Indian, Juan Diego, (Saint Juan Diego). Juan Diego was whom the “Mother of God” — the “Virgin,” officially recognized by the Catholic Church as the Virgin, chose to appear before, on Saturday, December 9, 1531 at the hill at Tepeyac, near modern-day Mexico City. He was on his way to do his daily volunteer religious service as he was known to be a devout Catholic.
He was neither “destitute” nor a “wealthy, important man” but at the apparition to Diego, she requested that he relay the message to church officials that “a chapel be constructed in her honor so that she might relieve the distress of all those who call on her in their need.” She informed Juan Diego that she wanted to be known as “Guadalupe.”
As instructed by La Virgin, he went to tell the bishop, Fray Juan Zumarraga, who said he’d consider Juan Diego’s story. Then La Virgin de Guadalupe appeared to him again that same day on his way home and he told her he was not that successful in convincing the archbishop of her apparition and he suggested that she find someone with “greater standing” in the community. She said no, she wanted him.
The next day, Sunday, December 10, Juan Diego found Bishop Zumarraga more receptive to his story but the bishop wanted evidence, proof that what he was relating to him had merit and was “of heaven.” Juan Diego immediately headed back to Tepeyac and told La Virgin what the bishop wanted. She told him she’d provide the requested proof the next day. On Monday, Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino, had become gravely ill and Juan Diego had to take care of him and he missed his rendezvous with La Virgin.
Early the next morning, Tuesday, December 11, Juan Diego went to seek a priest in Tlateloclo for his uncle’s last rites, but was embarrassed for not keeping his appointment with La Virgin, so he went around the hill using another route but she intercepted him. She “chided” him for missing his appointment and he told her of his uncle, Juan Bernardino, who was very sick.
Then La Virgin told Juan Diego, what arguably are the most famous words of the entire Virgin apparition, “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre,” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?) She told Juan Diego that his uncle was better and now recovered. She told him to go up the hill and gather flowers which he did immediately. He was surprised to find flowers in bloom where only scrub brush and cactus normally grew. He put some in his mantle not bothering to untie it from around his neck, he took the flowers to La Virgin who rearranged them and directed him to take them to the bishop. He did and when he got permission to see Bishop Zumarraga, he opened his mantle and the flowers dropped to the floor and on his cloak was the image of La Virgin de Guadalupe. The bishop, upon sight, then “venerated” them.
The “chapel” that La Virgin de Guadalupe, also commonly known as “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” requested to Juan Diego was built. It was fairly modest and made from adobe but soon became a pilgrimage site, so a larger church was built on the same site near the hill at Tepeyac, the site of the original apparition. Now a large cathedral basilica stands on the spot where 50 million people a year visit from all over the world, making it the most visited of all sacred sites in the Spanish-speaking world.
Viva La Guadalupana
Photo shows Image of "La Virgin" Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe etched in pavers in front of the parish bearing her name in Pojoaque with the request to her to "Pray for Us." Photo by ROBERT NARANJO/valleydailypost