Courtesy image of Father Roca
Santuario’s Beloved Father Roca Dies
By Robert Naranjo
According to sources Father Roca, longtime pastor at El Santuario de Chimayo passed away on the morning of Aug 5.
Father Roca, who was visited by the Valley Daily Post on his 97th birthday passed away less than two weeks later. That story, by Valley Daily Post Reporter, Robert Naranjo, was published in last week’s edition of the Weekly Print Edition and can also be viewed online at ValleyDailyPost.com HERE.
Father Roca served at Iglesia de Santa Cruz before being assigned to El Santuario. When he arrived there around 1959 he found it in need of repair and in danger of collapse. He is widely credited by community members for saving that holy shrine and cultural icon.
While he was at El Santuario, he built a church in Truchas and the Holy Family Church in Chimayo.
Father Roca was known to his parishioners in Chimayo and around the Espanola Valley as a “straight shooter.” When asked about Father Roca parishoners said “he called it as he saw it. Today, it’s known as tough love but a big heart.”
Services are pending notification by Catholic Church officials. Check the online Valley Daily Post for more details as they develop.