Santa Fe, Archdiocese of
SANTA FE, ARCHDIOCESE OF
Metropolitan see comprising an area of 61,142 square miles in the state of New Mexico, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (Sanctae Fidei ) was established as a vicariate apostolic in 1850, a diocese in 1853, and an archdiocese in 1875. Originally it covered New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, but after the creation of the Vicariates of Arizona and Colorado in 1868, it was confined to New Mexico, minus the southernmost counties bordering on Texas and Mexico; these counties, as part of the Gadsden Purchase, were first in the Arizona vicariate (later the Diocese of Tucson), then in the Diocese of El Paso, Tex., created in 1914. With the erection of the Diocese of Gallup in 1939 and the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1982, the archdiocese was further restricted to the eastern and north central part of the state. The suffragan sees are Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, and Gallup and Las Cruces in
New Mexico. In 2001, the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe numbered approximately 30 percent of the total population, distributed among 92 parishes and 217 active missions.
Early Period. The area's early history is associated entirely with Catholicism. Discovered by Fray Marcos de niza in 1539, it was explored by the Coronado expedition of 1540 with the double purpose of extending the Spanish Empire and propagating the faith. No "golden cities" were found to justify immediate colonization, but two Franciscans did remain to start a rudimentary mission; subsequently Fray Juan de padilla was killed by Native Americans on the Great Plains, while Fray Luis de Ubeda, a lay brother left at the pueblo of Pecos, was slain by his charges. Some 40 years later, three friars, Agustin Rodriguez, Francisco lÓpez, and Juan de Santa Maria, were sent by the viceroy on another exploratory mission; unscrupulous soldiers accompanying them foiled their purposes and the trio was killed by Tigua tribes people of the middle Rio Grande Valley. But in 1598 a permanent colony was established at last under Gov. Juan de Oñate, while a sizable missionary band began ministering to the pueblos.
By 1610, the Villa of Santa Fe (Holy Faith ) was founded as a permanent capital, the only Spanish town in that century. Like other Santa Fe's in Spanish America, it was named after the royal military camp near Granada, where Ferdinand and Isabella dealt the final blow to the Moors in Spain. The original patronal title of the parish church was Our Lady of the Assumption, which in the next decade became that of the Conception. Enshrined in it was a statue of the Assumption, brought by Fray Alonso de benavides in 1625; it began gathering lasting fame as La Conquistadora, the Queen of the Kingdom of New Mexico and its Villa of Santa Fe. There also was the chapel of San Miguel for the indigenous Mexicans brought along by the Spaniards. The mission enterprise, called the Custody of the Conversion of St. Paul, began most auspiciously, having within a short time more than 30 churches, ranging from the northernmost pueblo of Taos near the present Colorado border down to the pueblo of Guadalupe del Paso, now the city of Juárez in Mexico. Several of these missions lay well east of the Rio Grande basin, touching on the Great Plains, while as many more stretched westward to the Hopi pueblos in what is now northeastern Arizona. Each of these great mission establishments was built by the Native Americans under the guidance of a lone Franciscan.
However, grave opposition developed among the ruling medicine men, particularly when it was deemed necessary to destroy their idolatrous ceremonial chambers and suppress their immoral secret dances; this and the interference of certain Spanish officials brought on troubles that ended in a giant holocaust. Posing for years as the spokesman for the Great Spirit Po-he-yemu, a mulatto former slave hiding in Taos cleverly united the various pueblo leaders into inciting the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which produced 21 Franciscan martyrs in a single day. Santa Fe was sacked, Our Lady's church destroyed completely, and San Miguel chapel partially. The colonists managed to fight their way out, fleeing south to Guadalupe del Paso where they remained exiled for 13 years. Late in December 1693, they and the missionaries returned in what is called the DeVargas reconquest. They had saved La Conquistadora from destruction and kept up her cult during exile and the reconquest of Santa Fe. For about a year Mass was celebrated in the palace of the governors, until Governor DeVargas built a temporary church of St. Francis in 1695. Further political troubles and by Native Americans campaigns prevented the rebuilding of the original parish and shrine of Our Lady as the governor had publicly vowed; these were finally built on the site of the old parish (1714–17), but the title of the temporary church was carried over to the new structure, thus making St. Francis of Assisi the permanent parish and town patron.
Gradually most of the missions were reestablished, while the Spanish people began spreading out in new towns with their own chapels. However, the new century proved disastrous to both the colonists and their Pueblo neighbors, for by 1800 long periods of drought and continual invasions had seriously impoverished the people. Spain, a rapidly waning power, had been unable to help. Nor could Mexico do much, even after its separation from Spain in 1821, due to the hundreds of miles of arid wilderness that separated New Mexico from the rest of Spanish America. Life there was not only precarious, but also devoid of educational opportunities and even material necessities when, in 1846, the U.S. took over New Mexico and the surrounding Southwest.
Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. Although jurisdiction was claimed by the bishops of Mexico, Guadalajara, and Durango, the Franciscan Custody had acted as an independent mission for more than a century. In 1730 Bp. Benito Crespo of Durango began exercising effective jurisdiction, when he appointed a secular priest Santiago Roybal, who had been born in Santa Fe in 1694 or 1695, as his vicar in Santa Fe. The Franciscans continued in charge of all mission and parish work but in a steady decline, due to economic circumstances and conflict with Native Americans as well as a dearth of missionary replacements from their motherhouse in Mexico City. In 1798 the bishop of Durango secularized the parishes of Santa Fe and other large towns, but few of the diocesan priests sent up stayed for long. Several native New Mexicans were ordained after 1800, but these and the last few aging friars were unable to meet the demands of so vast and impoverished a region. Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821 aggravated the situation by removing Spanish-born missionaries. By the time the U.S. took over, the Church in New Mexico was in a sorry state. The ancient Franciscan missions were crumbling fast; the descendants of the Spanish colonists, for the most part illiterate, had kept the faith ardently alive but sadly marred by ignorance; and the Pueblo peoples, never fully Christianized, had merely covered their pagan beliefs with the outward signs of Catholicity.
Soon after New Mexico's annexation by the U.S. in 1846, the American hierarchy petitioned the Holy See for a bishop in the Great Southwest. Historic Santa Fe was selected as the see city and John Baptist lamy was named bishop, arriving in Santa Fe late in 1851.
Lamy. The new bishop chose St. Francis as patron of the diocese and the old parish church of St. Francis became the cathedral. Finding a mere handful of priests, some of whom resented him as an intruder, Lamy not only brought numbers of French clergy to serve his vast territory but soon ordained some worthy native candidates, and founded a seminary. Priests were also sent to the faraway populated areas of Tucson and Denver. The lack of educational facilities was remedied by the introduction of religious teachers. In 1853 the Kentucky Sisters of Loretto founded Our Lady of Light Academy in Santa Fe, later opening schools at Taos, Mora, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Socorro, and Las Cruces; in 1859 the French Christian Brothers founded St. Michael's in Santa Fe, subsequently opening other schools at Las Vegas, Mora, and Bernalillo. By 1865 the Cincinnati Sisters of Charity had founded St. Vincent's Hospital and Orphanage in the capital, and followed with an academy and two parish schools in Albuquerque. In 1867 the bishop welcomed a group of Neapolitan Jesuits who, through their printing of La Revista Catolica in Las Vegas and by their mission preaching all over the Territory, helped to save the faithful from the many Protestant proselytizers who poured in with the coming of the railroad. In 1869 a new stone cathedral replaced the old adobe church—keeping intact, however, the ancient Conquistadora shrine as its Lady Chapel. In 1875 Santa Fe was erected a metropolitan with Tucson and Denver as suffragan dioceses. Lamy resigned in 1885 and died three years later.
Salpointe, Chapelle, Bourgade. John Baptist Salpointe, coadjutor since 1884, succeeded to the see on July 18, 1885, and devoted much of his time and effort in behalf of education for the Native Americans. St. Catherine's Indian School, under the direction of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, was opened in Santa Fe. Salpointe's term was marked also by difficulties with the Penitentes, a flagellant society, which flared up in opposition to diocesan regulations. He resigned on Jan. 7, 1894, and retired to Banning, Calif., where he wrote his Soldiers of the Cross, a source history of the pioneer American Church in the Great Southwest. His successor was Placide Louis chapelle, coadjutor since 1891, who became third archbishop of Santa Fe on Jan. 7, 1894, but was transferred to New Orleans in 1897. During his brief term the Leavenworth Sisters of Charity founded St. Anthony's Hospital at Las Vegas. His successor was Peter Bourgade, who had served as vicar apostolic of Arizona and, since 1897, as first bishop of Tucson, before his transfer to Santa Fe on Jan. 7, 1899.
As bishop of Tucson, Bourgade had induced the Cincinnati Franciscans to open missions among the Navahos; as archbishop he reintroduced them to some of the ancient Pueblo missions of New Mexico and to the whole northwest section of the state, which eventually passed into the Gallup diocese. The Franciscans founded the first parishes in the opposite southeast part of New Mexico. Bourgade also took a leading part in founding the Catholic Church Extension Society. The Lafayette Franciscan sisters opened mission schools in areas served by the Franciscan fathers. The Charity sisters from Santa Fe founded St. Joseph Hospital and a school of nursing in Albuquerque, while the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother established St. Mary's Hospital in Roswell. By 1908 there were 45 parishes with 340 mission chapels in the archdiocese, denoting a marked increase in the population as well as a definite economic progress. This progress, however, had not caught up with that of other parts of the nation where large industry and extensive agriculture helped dioceses to develop much more rapidly.
Later Archbishops. Bourgade died in 1908 and on Jan. 3, 1909, was succeeded by John Baptist Pitaval, who had been his auxiliary since 1902. Pitaval introduced the Oblate Fathers of Texas to the extensive Springer parish, while the Franciscan sisters founded St. Anthony's Orphanage for boys in Albuquerque. New Mexico became a state in 1912; three years later Pitaval dedicated a fine bronze statue of Archbishop Lamy in front of the cathedral, the first state governor and other major officials taking part in the ceremonies. Resigning in February 1918 because of ill health, Pitaval was succeeded by Albert T. Daeger, OFM, who was consecrated on May 7, 1919, thus marking the end of a continuous line of French archbishops. Since the recruiting of clergy from France had ceased during the war, the new archbishop faced a serious dearth of priests. Lamy's original seminary had closed with his death; Daeger tried to remedy the situation by starting one at Las Vegas, but this one also was short-lived. Meanwhile, the Holy Family fathers from Spain took over the large Santa Cruz area, while the Servite fathers from Chicago were given that of Belen. The Franciscans returned to the cathedral after a century, at the urging of Msgr. A. Fourchegu, vicar-general since 1895, who personally financed the cathedral debt and purchased the major furnishings. Archbishop Daeger also received the vows of the first Missionary Catechists of Our Lady of Victory, founded in Indiana for work in his archdiocese. He died on Dec. 2, 1932, and was succeeded the following summer by Rudolph Aloysius Gerken, first bishop of Amarillo.
After his installation in Santa Fe on Aug. 23, 1933, Gerken was able to organize archdiocesan ministration along more modern lines. A seminary was established in Albuquerque, new parishes and schools were opened throughout the state, and new religious communities introduced. The archbishop personally supervised the preparation of the historic Montezuma Hotel near Las Vegas as a major seminary, which the U.S. and Mexican hierarchy founded in 1937 for seminarians from persecuted Mexico. The very first Presidium of the Legion of Mary in America was established at Raton. The Franciscan sisters in Albuquerque opened a teachers' college, while the Dominican sisters established Nazareth Sanatorium at Alameda, and Holy Family sisters took over a new hospital in Taos. Archbishop Gerken died on March 2, 1943, and was succeeded by Edwin Vincent Byrne, who had served as first bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and then bishop of San Juan there, before his transfer to Santa Fe on June 15, 1943.
The war and its aftermath brought enormous changes to New Mexico as a consequence of the permanent military and atomic installations there, which spurred other industries and brought in many new Catholic families to swell the increasing native population. The need for more parishes with schools was successfully met as these increased from five to 21 in Albuquerque alone. The diocesan seminary, transferred to Santa Fe under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grew steadily in students and facilities and warranted the addition of a philosophy department in 1962; as a result, native ordinations also increased steadily. Old St. Michael's in Santa Fe was established (1947) as a four-year liberal arts college, as was also the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. One of the best-equipped Newman Centers in the nation was established at the University of New Mexico under the Dominican fathers; two branch universities at Las Vegas and Portales also have active Newman Centers. Two local foundations, which in a few years spread far beyond the archdiocese, were the Servants of the Holy Paraclete (1952) and the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd (1951).
When Byrne died on July 25, 1963, his successor was Abp. James Peter Davis, who was transferred from San Juan, Puerto Rico and installed in Santa Fe, Feb. 25, 1964. Archbishop Davis had attended sessions of Vatican Council II and led the archdiocese through the early changes and renewal programs promulgated by the council. To conform to the new liturgical norms, he began renovations at St. Francis Cathedral beginning with the sanctuary. Parts of earlier church structures from 1717, 1806 and 1895 were razed in order to accommodate the changes in the cathedral including the addition of a new Blessed Sacrament chapel. Many of the changes and renovations were criticized because they did not complement the soft Romanesque look of Archbishop Lamy's original building. More recent renovations that include the addition of New Mexico–style santero art under the direction of Archbishop Sanchez and Archbishop Sheehan made it more conformable in style with New Mexico's long Catholic tradition. In 2001, a full immersion baptismal font was added in the central portion of the nave.
Archbishop Davis restored the diaconate and ordained the first deacons for the archdiocese in 1972. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe joined the inter-denominational Council of Churches that led to the establishment of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical Affairs in 1979. Davis relocated the archdiocesan administrative offices from the see city to the larger, and more centrally located, city of Albuquerque in 1967.
One of the most lasting programs of Archbishop Davis is the institution of official pilgrimages in the archdiocese that led to the establishment of the historic Santuario de chimayo as the official archdiocesan pilgrimage site in 1979. This site has been known since prehistoric times as a place of spiritual and physical healing. Regular pilgrimage to the Santuario began after WW II when survivors of the Bataan Death March made a pilgrimage in thanksgiving for their safe return to New Mexico.
Archbishop Davis retired in 1974 and passed away in Albuquerque, March 4, 1988. Prior to his retirement, Archbishop Davis, other priests and lay people from New Mexico had recommended that the next Archbishop of Santa Fe be someone from among the native born Hispanic priests in the archdiocese. One of those recommended was Father Robert Fortune Sanchez, born and raised in Socorro, New Mexico, and a priest of the archdiocese since his ordination in 1959. Father Sanchez had served as teacher and assistant principal at St. Pius High School as well as assistant pastor of Annunciation Parish in Albuquerque. He also attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., for special studies in Canon Law. When he returned from Washington, he was appointed pastor of the combined parishes of St. Joseph/Holy Family in the remote northeastern portion of the state. In 1971 he was appointed pastor of the historic parish of San Felipe de Neri in Albuquerque and Archbishop Davis appointed him vicar general of the archdiocese on May 1, 1974. He was serving the archdiocese in these positions when he was named the tenth Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1974.
Archbishop Sanchez's installation brought great joy to the people of the archdiocese, not only because he was a native New Mexican but because of his strong dedication and pastoral leadership. He established formal programs to assist and meet the pastoral needs of Hispanic, Native Americans and those immigrating to the U.S. Among these is the archdiocesan newspaper, the People of God, established in 1982 and distributed by parishes to thousands of Catholics in the archdiocese and the weekly televised Mass seen at one of the local TV channels that reaches many home bound Catholics. Efforts to increase Native American spirituality and participation in liturgy were advanced in 1974 when the archbishop celebrated the first Native American liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Francis. Native rituals such as prayers, blessings and ceremonial dances were for the first time held in the cathedral.
The archbishop's love for New Mexico, its people and history—especially the role the church has played in this history—led him to establish the Archbishop's Commission for the Preservation of Historic New Mexico Churches in 1987. The commission developed guidelines for any renovations or preservation efforts that were being planned by parishes and missions. During this period many New Mexico churches, including the Santuario de Chimayo, San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas and San Francisco de Assisi in Ranchos de Taos were designated as National Historic Landmarks and listed on the State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places.
Another institution in the archdiocese, Via Coeli ("Heaven's Way"), that gained a reputation for its ministry to priests troubled by addictions and other problems became the focus of much criticism and notoriety in the 1980s. The therapeutic program at the center sponsored by the servants of the paraclete was one of the first to offer specialized treatment for the clergy. Dioceses and religious orders from across the country sent priests to the center located at Jemez Springs for treatment of addictions and problems of various kinds, including pedophilia. A number of priests were rehabilitated and returned to the active ministry in their home dioceses; some stayed to work in New Mexico; and some relapsed. It was this last group that created serious problems for the archdiocese and the archbishops of Santa Fe. The allegations, the legal costs, and the monetary compensations paid to the victims and their families damaged the morale of the archdiocese and brought it to the brink of bankruptcy. These problems along with charges of sexual misconduct with women brought against the archbishop himself led to the resignation of Archbishop Sanchez in 1993. Subsequently, the Servants of the Paraclete closed the therapeutic program at Jemez Springs, concentrating instead on retreats and spiritual renewal.
On April 6, 1993, the Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan, who was serving as the first bishop of Lubbock at that time, was named as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. He was appointed the 11th Archbishop of Santa Fe on August 17 and installed on Sept. 21, 1993. His leadership and pastoral guidance helped the archdiocese and its people through this most difficult period. His immediate concern and love for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and its people was evident by his involvement in programs and the long traditions of the church of New Mexico. Archbishop Sheehan brought a new sense of trust to the archdiocese by committing himself to working closely with clergy, religious, and lay people. Ministries and programs of the archdiocese were given a new sense of hope for the future by his promise to serve the people of the archdiocese with all his energy and with all his heart. During the first years of his episcopate, Archbishop Sheehan visited many parishes and missions of the archdiocese including a visit to the Native American parishes and missions. He had a processional cross with stand, depicting a Native American Christ, made and presented them as gifts to each of the Pueblo parishes and missions. He also involved the native peoples in church plans for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the formal establishment of New Mexico in 1998. Church events during this yearlong observance were considered by all who participated extremely successful because of their sensitive and accurate interpretation of historic events involving Native American peoples and their culture and traditions. The archbishop's command of the Spanish language and its inclusion in liturgy as well as his love for and participation in long standing Hispanic and Native American traditions truly symbolize his commitment to the people of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
Administratively, offices of the archdiocese were given a greater sense of their role in the pastoral ministry of the church and were brought up to more professional standards. The archdiocesan museum, a dream of Archbishop Sanchez, was completed, opened and blessed by Archbishop Sheehan in October of 1993. The success of the Catholic Foundation, established in 1991 was made a priority and by 2001 the foundation had assets totaling close to $20 million. The Annual Catholic Appeal Foundation, founded as Faith in Action in 1983 as an annual archdiocesan-wide appeal to support the pastoral, educational, evangelical and developmental needs of the archdiocese as well as the universal church, donated nearly $35 million to support the mission of the archdiocese. Through the rebate feature of the ACA, all the parishes of the archdiocese shared in nearly $8 million returned for local use. The Office of Lay Personnel Services, later Human Resources, is responsible for seeing that rights and benefits are provided for all employees of the archdiocese. The finance division of the archdiocese is responsible for all financial dealings and the profits from the sale of land previously occupied by St. Pius High School made it possible for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to be debt free.
Pastoral ministries of the archdiocese including offices of Evangelization, Family Life, Formation for Christian Service, and Pastoral Outreach are directed by committed individuals who initiate and plan programs. The youth office promotes its ministry through the yearly Youth Conference, established in 1979, where the youth of the archdiocese are invited to come together for prayer, reflection and discussion of youth-related issues. The Catholic schools of the archdiocese are also of great importance to Archbishop Sheehan and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The Archbishop's School Fund Dinner, established in 1978, provides much-needed funds for school programs and scholarships for students who are not able to afford the tuition.
Archbishop Sheehan successfully led the archdiocese through the RENEW program, a spiritual process that nourishes spiritual growth of Catholics. Its goals were the teaching and witness to the word of God, the building of a vibrant faith community and the promotion of justice. He was also very committed to the commemoration of the anniversary of Christ's birth, the Jubilee Year, beginning on Christmas Eve 1999. Catholics were encouraged to visit Jubilee churches of the archdiocese and to attend the Eucharistic Congress held during the Jubilee Year on Sept. 23, 2000, planned and sponsored by the archdiocesan office of worship.
Bibliography: j. b. salpointe, Soldiers of the Cross (Banning, Calif. 1898). a. chavez, Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 1678–1900 (Washington 1957); The Old Faith and Old Glory: Story of the Church in New Mexico since the American Occupation, 1846–1946 (Santa Fe 1946). f. a. dominguez, The Missions of New Mexico, 1776, tr. e. b. adams and a. chavez (Albuquerque 1956). Lamy Memorial: Centenary of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 1850–1950 (Santa Fe 1950). archdiocese of santa fe, Four Hundred Hears of Faith (1598–1998) — Seeds of Struggle-Harvest of Faith (Santa Fe 1998).