Don Juan de Onate, Reina and Entourage Attend Annual Mass at El Santuario
By ROBERT NARANJO
El Santuario de Chimayo – The traditional Coronation Mass marks the official coronation of La Reina or the Queen of a celebration or fiesta. At the beginning of the mass, a veil is placed on La Reina’s head, followed by the Coronation Mass, and after the mass is over, La Reina will officially reign over La Fiesta. In this case, Fr. Julio of the Holy Family Church and El Santuario de Chimayo officiated the Coronation Mass. It is one of the more culturally and religiously significant events that kick-off La Fiesta del Valle de Espanola y de Onate. It has been held for many years at the “Lourdes of America” – El Santuario de Chimayo, but not inside the storied shrine that Fr. Casimiro Roca (1917-2014) saved from the Santa Cruz River, but the mass was held outside in an area designated for gatherings. There are benches for the public to sit and a sheltered area for the Santuario’s priest to conduct the mass and as mentioned Fr. Julio officiated this Coronation Mass. This mass featured La Peregrina, the traveling replica of the famous La Conquistadora (Our Lady of Peace). The traveling version of the historic statue was brought from in Santa Fe for the Coronation Mass. La Peregrina, a beautiful facsimile, takes the place of La Conquistadora for out-of-town events since the famous statue was stolen n the 1980’s. However, it was not stolen at a special event like this Coronation Mass for La Fiesta del Valle de Espanola y de Onate, it was stolen right out of the St. Francis Cathedral Basillica in Santa Fe. The famous original has the oldest celebration in the U.S. dating back to 1695 celebrated in her honor. She was saved during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when over 400 Spanish settlers and nearly 20 priests were brutally massacred during that uprising, but La Conquistadora was saved by a priest and taken back to El Paso del Norte with the remaining settlers. Twelve years later, Don Diego DeVargas brought the statue of La Conquistadora back and promised a Fiesta in her honor if he could retake Santa Fe without bloodshed, which he did manage to do. La Conquistadora is now part of many celebrations, including the Fiesta del Valle de Espanola y de Onate, the Santa Fe Fiestas, plus many other religious observations.
The special mass held outdoors was beautiful, albeit a little warm with the temperature approaching 100 degrees. Don Juan de Onate, portrayed by Samuel de Herrera Duran y Roybal, Cristobal de Onate, portrayed by Bernardo Montoya, and La Reina, portrayed by Adriana Martinez and La Reina’s paige, Miss Ortiz, and all the Cuadrilla made for quite a colorful and historic presence at El Santuario. Within sight was the Santa Cruz River flowing west to give life to trees, gardens and all the flora and fauna that exist in its ecosystem.
The mass at El Santuario de Chimayo is one of the preliminary events before the Fiestas which will run July 8th through the 10th. For more information, call Espanola City Hall at (505) 747-6100 or Don Juan de Onate (Samuel de Herrera Duran y Roybal) at (505)544-6746. Attend the Fiesta this year, enjoy all the festivities and learn more about the beautiful and historic Espanola Valley in the process. Que Viva La Fiesta del Valle de Espanola y de Onate. QUE VIVA!