La Santisima Trinidad, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico

la santisima trinidad, arroyo seco, nm

Blanketed in the first snow of the season, La Santisima Trinidad radiates hope to the surrounding community of Arroyo Seco, New Mexico. Built in 1834, the historic church stands as a monument to the families who originally settled the area. That the Catholic faith thrived during a period when there were very few priests available to serve the faithful in the rural southwest, is hope to us in these uncertain political times here in the United States.

cupola, la santisima trinidad, nm

The ancient brotherhood of the penitentes is primarily responsible for nurturing the faith during this period, though their methods came under scrutiny by church authorities. Nevertheless, despite the severity of some of their practices, there continue to be many Catholics in the mountains and plains of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

graveyard, la santisima trinidad, nm          cemetary, la santisima trinidad, nm

On the day we visited La Santisima Trinidad, we found the church was locked. No one came forth to open it, so we explored. We enjoyed wandering the churchyard and examining the grave markers. They fill the area around the church. The building has obviously been lovingly restored. Learn more about that at the following link for inside pics. Several well-placed benches hint at a pleasant garden in warmer seasons.

graveyard benck, la santisima trinidad, nm

Click here to see some lovely pictures of the inside of La Santisima Trinidad:

http://altbuildblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/inside-la-santisima-trinidad-church-in.html

Once the snow flies and cabin fever sets in, a day trip towards Taos, New Mexico is always fun. Just 80 miles from Santa Fe, the Arroyo Seco area is full of historic sites, alternative housing, and breathtaking scenery. The town of Arroyo Seco, just 7 miles from Taos, hosts a number of boutiques and several eating establishments. Plenty of activity to satisfy the casual tourist despite inclement weather.

la santisima trinidad nm sign          historic church, la santisima trinidad, nm

Call to verify Mass and Confessions at the historic church and its missions, listed here: http://www.visitseco.com/arroyo_seco_catholic_church.php

 

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Santo Nino de Atocha, Chimayo, New Mexico

 

On the same road trip to El Santuario, Chimayo, we discovered another chapel I hadn’t seen before. Just a few hundred yards from El Santuario is the Chapel to Santo Nino de Atocha. According to legend, when loved ones were imprisoned, the Christ child would come and take food and water to them. When the families saw the worn out shoes on the statue of little Jesus, they would replace them with new ones, which would soon become worn out as well, as Santo Nino continued to bring provisions to their imprisoned loved ones.

 

 

Santo Nino de Atocha Chapel is dedicated to children. Its whimsical décor is reminiscent of childhood, with carved trees, birds, flowers and fanciful sculptures. A nearby shrine holds hundreds of pairs of tiny shoes, thank you tokens for miracles received. A Milagros chapel inside the shrine holds hundreds of other tiny gifts, left in gratitude for healings received.

 

 

During WWII, many National Guardsmen from this area of New Mexico died. Survivors attributed their lives to the intercession of Santo Nino de Atocha. Devotion to Jesus as Santo Nino had been encouraged by Severiano Medina, who built the chapel near El Santuario, in gratitude for healing from a severe illness. 

 

 

 

Today, the chapel is fully restored and a delightful dessert to the serious meal of El Santuario de Chimayo. One does not have to walk very far from either one for some distinctive New Mexico chile.

 


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El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico


Nearly 10 years ago, when I came to El Santuario Chimayo on pilgrimage, it was undergoing major restoration, inside and out. When I returned this past spring, I was impressed with sweet smelling, flowering trees lining spacious courtyards. Restored signage clearly indicates Mass times and Historic information.

 

Original window gratings and adobe bricks are left exposed in areas, to show the original building style.

 

A walk through the visitor’s center tells the story of how the Santuario de Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas came to be, the story of the penitente brotherhood and the early church in New Mexico. I reflect upon how much of that early spirituality still pervades the local and surrounding areas, even into Southern Colorado.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we are just in time for Mass. Father Casimiro Roca who has spent so much of his life devoted to the preservation of the Santuario is there with us. He now walks across the uneven flagstones with the assistance of a cane and a caregiver.

 

 

Outside, cattle graze in the valley below. Their gentle lowing makes me homesick for my little ranch. But I have given up my livestock for this life on the road. I smile at sweet memories and new adventures. From the upper courtyard, I can see the amphitheater below, in front of the shrine to Our Lady. The Stations of the Cross still meander along the river bank.

 

Today we are more inclined to check out the surrounding area. Tamales and hot drinks are sounding good, but alas, Leona’s concession stand is closed today. We continue up the road to see if we can patronize some of the local businesses that thrive during the tourist season. Maybe we’ll get some chile powder made from the famous New Mexico chiles, or blue atole – blue cornmeal which is  cooked into a delicious cereal or drink.

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Run For The Wall – A Pilgrimage to Honor our Veterans

The flag line on the County Line Road bridge near Williams, Arizona, greets over 500 bikers as they begin their pilgrimage to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  For the fifth year in a row, veterans, bikers from Ash Fork, Prescott and Wickenburg, and family and friends lined up on the bridge to show their support to the group, which started out from Rancho Cucamonga, California early in the morning on Wednesday, May 15th.  Following two separate routes, one through the central states and one through the southern states, the groups met up at the wall on May 25th, to pay tribute to all Viet Nam veterans and those Killed In Action, Missing In Action and Prisoners of War.  They also journeyed to nearby Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

One blogger who participated and kept a daily log of the ride offers an account of her adventures and stories she picked up along the way here:  http://jensride.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/may-25-2013/  


My friend, Ellen, from the local American Legion, has been organizing the flag line for this event for 4 years now.  She invited me this year, thinking that my 10 year old son would really enjoy watching the motorcycles go by.  I found it to be a great opportunity to discuss respect for the American Flag, for veterans, pros and cons of having a military force, and love for country.  In spite of this stimulating conversation, the moment we got out of the car, he started checking out the parked bikes.  He quickly examined and evaluated each model and decided that when he grows up he wants a three-wheeler.  Sigh.  I hope he wears a helmet.  And rides slow.   


Run For The Wall, as Ellen put it, was started by “two guys out in California, to raise awareness of POW’s and MIA’s and help promote healing for Viet Nam vets and their families.  25 years ago the guys started this bike run to the Memorial Wall to honor their buddy who wanted to do it, but died before he could, so they did it for him.”  It turned into an annual event.  What makes it different from other motorcycle events is the main rule:  NO ATTITUDES.  This is specifically a mission, a pilgrimage, to promote awareness of POW/MIA, honor and healing for veterans and their families and to remind the powers that be that there are still some that were left behind – and have not been forgotten.

 

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