Home


This site is my almost daily account for parishioners, friends, and family of my sabbatical days 2017.

Diary

Dec 29   Columbia, SC       Before Lexington I stayed with classmate Msgr Jim Miller in Dubuque.  He showed me the unique sites of this old river town.  He has a lovely church built the same time as Holy Name.  Even though the parish is the same size as HN  he has fewer than 100 children in education. The rel ed students  go to a neighboring parish and those in Catholic school go to a unified place outside the parish.  He has a large school building empty next to the Church and is for sale but he does not know who would buy into it.  In the meantime he has to minimally heat and maintain it.  He has two deacons which is a blessing to the aging parish.     The drive through the Smokey mountains was dry but what a mess of curves with semis surrounding me all the time.  I am relieved to be putting up my feet tonight.  I asked for the protection of the new saint,  Fr. Miguel Pro.  Joe and Shirley on their return from the shrine in Mexico brought me this as a gift and now I carry it on sabbatical.

Dec 30 and 31:   Arrived at noon to the Cathedral rectory of the most ancient city of St. Augustine, founded in 1565 with the landing of Pedro Menandez on behalf of Spain to claim the land and start a colony.  Fr. Lopez of the ship raised the cross and said the first Mass on Sept 8, 1565 and claimed the land in the Name of God...thus the first mission's name.  There was some confusion that I should be there until I showed them Archbishop Estevez letter of welcome.  He is gone but has the 3rd floor of the rectory with guest room....so they put me there.  Four priests live here but I seldom see them. That's is OK as I began to walk the city and read every historical marker.  The Cathedral on the Spanish plaza is old  (1797 completed ...previous four churches were burned or sacked, etc.)  It is a beautiful Spanish cathedral.  Saturday I went to get my vestments and the car was dead. The seat belt buckle had lodged in the driver door and the battery ran down overnight.  I walked to the mission site of Nombre de Dios to say Mass and a wonderful lady in charge gave me a private tour of the grounds which are closed due to horrible damage that hurricane of Oct. 7 rendered.  Insurance if finally starting to come through for them and they can clean and fix and rebuild. But the essentials were still there. In 1603 a statue duplicate from Madrid in Spain was brought to the chapel titled: Nuestra Senora de leche y buen parto:  Our lady of milk and good birth.  It was miraculous in Spain for women having pregnancy and early birth difficulties.  The grace it rendered here similar to our Lady of Guadalupe is the native tribe, the Timucuans, were drawn to it and conversions of all of them happened.  So things were peaceful with the natives. In fact, before, they were friendly to the Spanish and in 1565...later in the Fall...brought food and they all celebrated a thanksgiving feast together, the first on future American soil.   A lady at Mass, herself a tourist with a rented car, heard my plight and helped to find someone with jumper cables (not easy...no one seemed to have them down here and we asked 50 people around the parish and passing by) and my car revived.  Mary answered a prayer.  Florida had many tribes, the larger were the Seminoles who later fought the settlers.   Nearby is the so called fountain of youth, a well of fresh water which Ponce de Leon used for his starving ships when he discovered Flordia in 1513 and named it.    In 1565 Pedro Meaandez started from Spain with 19 ships loaded with colonists, cattle, seed, etc. for the colony but only five made it...the rest lost to hurricanes.

The town is so clean and the old town is easy to walk with narrow streets, etc. Reminds me of old Rome.  I highly recommend it for a tourist visit even if you are not a history buff.  Tonight there is to be fireworks display to welcome in the new year.  The British hated this site of the Spanish and constantly pillaged and burned it....even the governor of the colony of S. Carolina came down and sacked the town and wiped out most of the 140 missions the Franciscans had started in Florida and up the east cost.  But the Spanish had built an impregnable fortress still standing: Castillo de San Marcos. Up to 1400 people and natives hid inside when the town was so often sacked and never were conquered.   I attended a cannon demonstration there yesterday.

Jan 2   Yesterday I concelebrated Mass with Bishop Philipe Estevez for New Year and the feast of the Motherhood of Mary, Mary, the mother of God.  That is her surpeme title above all other titles, the bishop said. It was her vocation, her mission, her fiat, God's grace fulfilled in and through her.  The Cathedral was renovated in 1965 and in 1965 and 2015.  Beautiful Spanish styling...the architect said now neo - Mediterranean but I labled it baroque Spanish Renaissance.  Good leafing hightlight the roof beams and the raredo statues behind the altar.  All very pleasing to the eye.  People were welcomed to the oldest parish in the USA.  Since it is downtown there are only 350 households but with the tourists they do have five Masses on week-ends.  It is a ministry of presence in the city and for pilgrims. Such a small parish but four priests in the rectory...but I think confessions and spiritual direction is a large part of their lives.  There is a parochial school a few blocks south.  The diocese supports and helps to run a general city Catholic high school.   I drove the 5 hours to Fort Myers and arrived safely in warm weather in the 80s.   I vacation this week and will return to the blog as I go to Texas to study Spanish and see their missions.

January 13....writing from the Valley:   I arrived to San Antonio yesterday....stayed with Fr. Joe Wagner, a vocation of Watertown, now a retired Air Force chaplain, colonel, here in S.A.  He is recovering from diverticulitis surgery and very weak but he welcomed me anyway.  I prayed over him before I left for his receovery.   After finding my dorm room 18 students jumped a bus headed toward the Valley....the Rio Grande.  We stayed at the hospitality house of the great shrine: Our Lady of San Jaun  near McAllen TX. The church is the largest in Texas, holding nearly 3000 for Masses.  There are seven Masses full each week- end so you do the math.  By moomlight we prayed the great outdoor life size Stations of the Cross on the 63 acre grounds for the many immigrants who cross places near here...most legal, but some illegal.  We will visit shelters today where some are helped with food and clothing and what processing the law allows.

I covered 1100 miles driving from Florida to here in two days.  I stopped at Pensacola as another mission site in Florida.  The King and Queen of  Spain made a royal visit here in 2009 to honor the 450 anniversary of the Spanish landing and attempt to begin a colony.  Tristan de Luna y Arellano led an 11 ship fleet in 1559 with 1500+ persons to this site...but disease and enemy attack, etc. killed the colony by 1561.  Yet they claim the first Mass on our shores. Six Dominicann priests and a lay brother celebrated the first Mass on Aug 15, the feast of the Assumptionm 1559 the day after landing. Though they were 6 year prior to St. Augustine, it was St. Augustine which persisted to claim the oldest continual colonial site in America. Catholicism did not return in strength to Pensacola until 1781 whe  St. Michael parish was established.  Today a beautiful basilica stands as witness to that original parish.  Since it was my namesake I had to go pray there.  I moved on to Mobile for the night, staying with friend Msgr. Warren Wall.  I enjoyed his favorite Cajun spot with fish creole and he gave me a tour of this Alabama city and history.  Their brag about being first among the Spanish stems from an exploration trip by Alvares de Pineda who in 1508 explored and mapped the gulf coast quite accurately for future sailors.  He landed at Mobile Bay and noted it to be a good spot for future colonization but this did not happen for many years.  Like Pensacola the first settlement passed back and forth between French and Spanish dominance.  But Mobile, like New Orleans, felt the French dominance most and thus they French names.   Mobile, in fact, did not begin to speak English until ar the 1812 was between Britain and the new USA.  Spanish and French dominated until then.  Mobile once was the capital of the so called Louisiana territory b before New Orleans and thus its part in our region's history is huge as South Dakota was part of the Louisiana purchase territory.  Fr. Wall was a living history book.   He was a friend from my Roman days.  He pastors two parishes in downtown Mobile since they are so short of priests. I am every more grateful for these ancestors who planted our Catholic faith in our country.   

Jan 14

Hi everyone..... today at Brownsville we drove along the border fence.  With the Patriot Act of 2006 a fence was to be built all along the border from Brownsville to San Diego...mostly done...12 to 20 foot fences....some of concrete...most of steel bars. I wish I could share pictures.  I wonder what a Trump Wall would add to this.   Yet the young and athletic find ways to climb over these. One sem last year was walking along it taking pictures when he saw a young woman descend on his side....unwrap her hair from swimming the Rio Grande....said  Buenos Dias...and walk on her way across the sagebrush. Later today Bishop Daniel Flores met with us...dark and handsome with a new pitch black beard...he was brilliant speaking on their situation here.   Then we went to Holy Spirit Parish which is next to the bus station to help with the immigrants.  After immigration picks them up and processes them...if they are illegal and from El Salvador, Guatamala, or Honduras they have their day for court.  Odd law...but Mexicans are deported instantly..as a border country but other countries have a chance to plead asylum or refugee status if fleeing to save their lives from violent war or gangs.  So all get a tracking anklet bracelet to stay with them and most have relatives up north and can go there to appear in local court later.  I do not yet speak enough Spanish so I partnered with a faculty member once from Mexico.   After border exams most go to the bus station to wait the rest of the day. The parishioners offered their gym reception place three years ago to help...and sometimes help 400 a day.  It reminded me of Holy Name Gym. How generous of them....but total chaos.  We just arrived and they said 30 were coming from the bus station and we had to help them.  Most were about 30 with young  babies or children in hand...dads with children but more women with children and no spouses yet who were either already in America or still in El Salvador.  Traveling through Mexico for weeks they needed clothes and shoes and showers.  God has a sense of humor. My partner could speak Spanish but the young man and his son were from Brazil and only spoke Portuguese. So we both struggled but got them fed,  showers and fresh clothes....the baby cried all the time...but after showers and being fed.....he gave me a big smile.   Our guy was going north to Philadelphia and then to North Carolina...by bus...to meet his wife who somehow got here earlier as a domestic or nanny. It took a long time for me to convince him to take a coat along as he had no conception what cold was. Even here in the parking lot there are army tents for them to sleep overnight....because it is still 70 degrees.  So many more feelings to share...but here is a taste.  It was a blessing for me today.  Somehow it got through to the father I was named Miguel...Michael...and so was his son...an instant bond.  He was so distrusting at first and would not even eat the food we offered though he may not have eaten for days...but later he trusted and accepted everything we offered.  The bishop here has promised to build the parish a new hall as they gave up all this to help the poor and the immigrant. What would Holy Name parishioners say if we gave up our gym for such a noble purpose?

Jan 15 Sunday.  Concelebrated Mass with the pastor of the large Mary shrine in San Juan TX.  About 1500 were at that Mass and there was a professional mariachi choir and band....I think they are paid and are famous in the valley for their concerts.  It was wonderful music for this visitor. This is the largest church in Texas and the merchants all around said it is the biggest business in that part of the valley.  The bishop uses it for ordinations and other large diocesan gatherings.  The spirituality of Mary was brought to the valley by the Mexicans in 1948 who had a great devotion to the Virgen de San Juan in Jalisco, Mex.  A duplicate of the wooden statue from there was brought to the valley and after a few miraculous incidents devotion grew and grew.  The statue looks like the infant of Prague...in its clothing...a short statue of Mary in prayer.  About 40 miles north back to San Antonio there is another customs stop to check if we were all American citizens.  A drivers license is sufficient.  Anyway, the shrine funds much of the diocesan ministries to the poor.  The pastor grew up in the valley and he said his father, a lawyer, insisted they speak Spanish at home but they spoke English at school and in public.  Thus he grew up perfectly bilingual.  

Jan 14

Hi everyone..... today at Brownsville we drove along the border fence.  With the Patriot Act of 2006 a fence was to be built all along the border from Brownsville to San Diego...mostly done...12 to 20 foot fences....some of concrete...most of steel bars. I wish I could share pictures.  I wonder what a Trump Wall would add to this.   Yet the young and athletic find ways to climb over these. One sem last year was walking along it taking pictures when he saw a young woman descend on his side....unwrap her hair from swimming the Rio Grande....said  Buenos Dias...and walk on her way across the sagebrush. Later today Bishop Daniel Flores met with us...dark and handsome with a new pitch black beard...he was brilliant speaking on their situation here.   Then we went to Holy Spirit Parish which is next to the bus station to help with the immigrants.  After immigration picks them up and processes them...if they are illegal and from El Salvador, Guatamala, or Honduras they have their day for court.  Odd law...but Mexicans are deported instantly..as a border country but other countries have a chance to plead asylum or refugee status if fleeing to save their lives from violent war or gangs.  So all get a tracking anklet bracelet to stay with them and most have relatives up north and can go there to appear in local court later.  I do not yet speak enough Spanish so I partnered with a faculty member once from Mexico.   After border exams most go to the bus station to wait the rest of the day. The parishioners offered their gym reception place three years ago to help...and sometimes help 400 a day.  It reminded me of Holy Name Gym. How generous of them....but total chaos.  We just arrived and they said 30 were coming from the bus station and we had to help them.  Most were about 30 with young  babies or children in hand...dads with children but more women with children and no spouses yet who were either already in America or still in El Salvador.  Traveling through Mexico for weeks they needed clothes and shoes and showers.  God has a sense of humor. My partner could speak Spanish but the young man and his son were from Brazil and only spoke Portuguese. So we both struggled but got them fed,  showers and fresh clothes....the baby cried all the time...but after showers and being fed.....he gave me a big smile.   Our guy was going north to Philadelphia and then to North Carolina...by bus...to meet his wife who somehow got here earlier as a domestic or nanny. It took a long time for me to convince him to take a coat along as he had no conception what cold was. Even here in the parking lot there are army tents for them to sleep overnight....because it is still 70 degrees.  So many more feelings to share...but here is a taste.  It was a blessing for me today.  Somehow it got through to the father I was named Miguel...Michael...and so was his son...an instant bond.  He was so distrusting at first and would not even eat the food we offered though he may not have eaten for days...but later he trusted and accepted everything we offered.  The bishop here has promised to build the parish a new hall as they gave up all this to help the poor and the immigrant. What would Holy Name parishioners say if we gave up our gym for such a noble purpose?

Jan 15 Sunday.  Concelebrated Mass with the pastor of the large Mary shrine in San Juan TX.  About 1500 were at that Mass and there was a professional mariachi choir and band....I think they are paid and are famous in the valley for their concerts.  It was wonderful music for this visitor. This is the largest church in Texas and the merchants all around said it is the biggest business in that part of the valley.  The bishop uses it for ordinations and other large diocesan gatherings.  The spirituality of Mary was brought to the valley by the Mexicans in 1948 who had a great devotion to the Virgen de San Juan in Jalisco, Mex.  A duplicate of the wooden statue from there was brought terto the valley and after a few miraculous incidents devotion grew and grew.  The statue looks like the infant of Prague...in its clothing...a short statue of Mary in prayer.  About 40 miles north back to San Antonio there is another customs stop to check if we were all American citizens.  A drivers license is sufficient.  Anyway, the shrine funds much of the diocesan ministries to the poor.  The pastor grew up in the valley and he said his father, a lawyer, insisted they speak Spanish at home but they spoke English at school and in public.  Thus he grew up perfectly bilingual.  

Jan 16 Since today was a holiday I drove about 70 into the Tx hill country to Kerrville to visit our retired SD priest Fr. Jack Reidman. He is 80 and in great shape.  He bought a new double wide and site for $70 K  10 years ago and lives here all year. He is the virtual chaplain of a small successful high school (about 120 students...$8000 tuition). He has been active in community theatre and helps at the only Catholic parish in town.  He loves it all.         Now...more on my discovery of deCatholicism entering and established in the United States.  In the early 1600s the Franciscans found the Comanches and others too fierce along the Rio Grande so they skipped all the way up to Santa Fe for the next 100 years.  In 1691 the Spanish discovered a small indian village in San Antonio valley but only in 1718 Fr. Antonio Oivares established a mission he named for St. Anthony, his patron but  because it was also the feast day of San Antonio. He also  named the river the same. Soon four more missions were established nearby along the river.  The original is now a  museum named the Alamo but the  other four are still functioning.  Then a group of Canary Island immigrants established a town nearby and built San Fernando parish....which later became the cathedral of the diocese. Texans and the military fighting for independence from Mexico converted mission San Antonio into a military barracks and latter March 6, 1836 it was the sight of the famous battle "remember the Alamo" where 189 defenders (Davie Crockett among them) held off 4000 Mexican troops for 13 days before all were killed.  Sam Houston and re-inforcements came too late but won Texan independence eventually. Thus Texas became its own nation for awhile with the reserved rights to div.  ide into 5 states but most wanted to join the union...which they did in 1846.  Many had come from the southern states and cotton growing was good between Houston and Corpus Christi.  This explains why they join the confederacy in 1861. Thus Texas claims to have been a part of 5 nations in its history: Spain, Mexico, its own Texas, Confederacy and now the USA.  This explains their independent streak. After the civil war it was the center of trade and especially the cattle industry when between 1865-1877 10 million cattle were moved along the 1000 mile Chisholm trail to the rail head at Abilene, KS.  The Iberian livestock (Spain) which escaped the early settlers in 1700 prospered in the bush country...and evolved into the Texas long horns.  Tough cowboys were needed to round up this wild stock. Worth $2 a head in TX they brought $30 and $40 a head in Abilene.  San Antonio looks like concentric circles from the air with all points of distance deriving from the star in the floor of San Fernando Cathedral downtown.   More on the surviving missions later when I visit them...... 

Jan 18            I was informed yesterday of Fr. TJ Ryan's death. He was my first pastor as priest and forever mentor and confidant.  We emailed weekly until recent months when he went to the nursing home.  He donated his body to Creighton medical school and when they are done the cremated remains will be buried in his parents grave in Ethan, SD    Thus the funeral resurrection Mass can wait until I return. He had asked me to say that when the time came.  Keep him in prayer.      Our daily schedule here is tight.....8 am classes and Mass until noon....then 1:30 to 4 pm with about 3 hours of homework. I feel some of the spanish coming back to me, praise God.   MACC (Mexican American Catholic College) is a small institution right next to the major seminary of the archdiocese and the large chancery complex.  Many bishops ago it was decided to build and invest in this area called "little Mexico"   There are immensely wealthy areas of San Antonio and is a winter haven for many snow birds. It has the second largest retirement community of military generals and colonels in the nation.  But here the housing and neighborhood is poor.  And there are iron fences and locked gates everywhere, starting with our parking lot and every building. I have to memorize many entry codes.  They told me that if I parked my out of state licensed car on the street overnight...most likely it would be Mexico with a different set of plates and color by morning.  And guard dogs are every where....some loose on the streets and behind every neighbor's fence.  So I need to go elsewhere for a long walk or jog. However they have not heard of any shootings or drug trafficking in the neighborhood for some time, 35 years ago the late Fr. Virgilio Elizando started this language and multicultural center for he predicted Catholic America would become more and more Hispanic in the years ahead and would eventually be the majority.  Almost half of the USA Catholic population is already first, second....fourth or fifth generation Hispanic....and keeps growing. The seminary next door requires all sems to be bilingual before ordination.  Probably necessary in the sunbelt states and I would be among them if I were a seminarian all over again.  My late start in life in Spanish is almost more symbolic than necessary for the church in So. Dak.   Language study is suppose to stimulate the brain in older age and help prevent Alzheimers, etc.    Plus I grab a bit of the sunbelt in January.

Jan 19   Most of the students are brain dead after all these language classes and the institute has a thing for faculty, family, and students called fiesta night:  Misa, Mesa, Musa.....colloquial for Mass Meal and Music.  The meal was Texan...lots of barbecued meat...favorite here being  brisket and a delicious bar b qued sausage  and chicken.  They bring in a live mariachi band with a lot of sing along...old favorites like  La Bomba,  bonita, wan tanna mera, etc.  They say the Germans brought to the Mexican guitars the accordion and trumpets.....a good blend all together.    Except we have class tomorrow....this should have been Friday night.... but very nice anyway.   I plan to go to the noon Mass at the old mission San Jose on Sunday.

Jan 22:  I celebrated Mass at what they call the queen of the old missions: San Jose.  It is named after both St. Joseph and St. Michael...thus San Jose y San Miguel.  It is small parish of 250 families in a poorer area but with the tourists they have 5 Sunday Masses.  It is no the UNESCO world heritage site and thus federal park money has been involved in the restoration of the church, walls, compound etc as it once was almost 300 years ago.  It was founded in 1720, only two years after the San Antonio mission which is now the Alamo, a museum.  The Spanish first began their missions along the gulf near Corpus Christi in the very late 1600s but with the French from New Orleans attacking them they moved the compounds, five missions eventually to San Antonio.  The original east Texas natives converted were the Tejas and from them TEXAS got its name. The tribal groups here were the Coahuitecans and were friendly and converted.  But the Comanches to the south and the Apaches to the west (New Mexico and Arizona) who use to fight each other turned into raiding parties on the missions to get the crops, cattle and horses.  Both tribes resisted the Spanish and other immigrants as we well knew and from their raids developed superb horses they fought from with great skill.  Thus the missions had to become armed compounds to protect themselves.  The natives were trained as soldiers along the walls.  They irrigated fields and did well with livestock but European diseases they had no resistance to such as the flu, smallpox, measles devastated them more than enemies.   And yet many of the area people today claim ancestry among those first natives, though they have intermarried with both settlers and Mexicans down through the century.  I was surprised only one Mass of the four was in Spanish, the rest in English....though the music was all Spanish.  Once there were 26 original Spanish missions in Texas but today the best remaining ones are those here and the group around El Paso, 550 miles to the west.  El Paso connected Mexico to Albuquerque and Santa Fe to the north in mission work.  I visited the other three missions as well known as Concepcion and Espada and San Juan.  Their full names are actually  Nuestra Senora de la Purisisima Conception de Alcuna,  San Juan Capistrano, and San Francisco de Espada.  The Spanish love long names but Americans have shortened them according to our custom.  For instance  L.A. was originally known as Nuestra Senora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels) and only a small % of the L.A. citizens today would probably know that if asked.   We had 50 mile an hour winds last night and this morning, a cool 50 degrees, but by afternoon it was 72 and gradually the wind died down.  Tomorrow I will be the main celebrant here at the college for the Spanish Mass. I will deliver my homily however mostly in English with a few chosen Spanish summaries.  Pray it goes well.   I took Sr. Deb Nelson to the Mass today.  She is a Presentation of Aberdeen and use to be my youth director in Brookings. She just completed 7 years of missionary work in Zambia and is at the Oblate School of Theology for a whole semester until the end of May for her sabbatical.   It was good to catch up on the seven years she had in Africa. 

Jan 24   Not a lot to report since I am hunkered down in class all day until 4 pm.  I did say my first Spanish Mass before the teachers and students yesterday.  But I preached a few ideas in Spanish but 80% in English.  They were filled with compliments over my leading of prayers.  I can read it well enough and am confident but in conversation I keep saying things in Italian and they laugh.  So...some historical trivia:  The nearly 300 year old San Fernando Cathedral has been restored close to its original beauty.  It is not really big enough for this archdiocese...more like a parish church. But they have the advantage of the town square, the mayor plaza, in front where a few thousand can gather to watch electronic screens of events.  For Holy Week many of the services take place outside, real drama with Good Friday.  They can do that in this climate.   A popular thing at night now are the sound and light shows on the face of the cathedral, every half hour starting at 9 pm. The French mastered this and sure enough a French producer did this as well. Amazing what they can do with the lights and sound for a summary of San Antonio and Texas history.   The river walk is still very famous and a hundred restaurants to choose from.  We ate at a Tex Mex one called the iron cactus.  We thought we were eating late at 7 pm and the crowds were modest.  But after 8 pm the majority started pouring in....eating is late there...from 8 to midnight.   I don't know how they sleep after eating so much so late at night.  Showing my age....I need to finish eating any big meal three or four hours before going to bed.  My tight belt line this morning told me I have to cut back on this Tex Mex stuff. Hasta luego     Padre Miguel

Jan 26:  Cool all over in the south these days....high of 59 here but so was it in Arizona and California. Albuquerque was closer to freezing.   I read a book to prepare myself for my visit to Arizona and the missions there.  It was a book winner...titled: Riding Behind the Padre.  The Padre was Fr. Kino a Jesuit who in the 1600s established many missions in the Sonora desert both in Arizona area and Mexico.  He preceded the famous Franciscan  St. Junipero Serra of California mission fame by almost a century.  Jesuits and Franciscans as missionaries:  Jesuits were first in the great discoveries of the Europeans.  St. Francis Xavier was the co-founder of the Jesuits and went to China and India and died there as the first great missionary to the Orient. Jesuits were successful in early Mexico, South America and into the States in N. Mex  and Arizona and Baja California.  They were fiercely loyal to the Pope and many of the monarchs, esp. those of Portugal and Spain found them feisty against many of their unfair exploitation of discovered lands and the natives.  The monarchs said they preferred the more peaceful and pacific Franciscans who gradually were given more of the missions until they eventually supplanted the Jesuits. Mind you..the Franciscans were on the same page as the Jesuits in being for the natives but much less political, etc.  Anyway, this along with other European controversies, caused the monarchs to persuade the Pope (Clement) to suppress the Jesuits in 1773.  Our first bishop,  John Carroll, of Baltimore, was a Jesuit but had to leave the order and be a regular diocesan priest after the 1776 forming of our nation.....and was soon made our first Bishop.   If you have not...do watch the Movie: The Mission.  Not only does it give an accurate historical insight into all this from the land of Paraguay/Uruaguy in S. America but the soundtrack was a winner of some of the greatest music ever on a movie soundtrack.  Thus after Fr. Kino, the Jesuit, died, you mostly just hear of the Franciscans here in Texas and all the way to California. They are a great Order and did great work and still do.  The suppressed Jesuits laid low in Eastern Europe and Russia until set free in the late 1800s.  But they were quietly staffing and starting universities with their zeal and high education.  Thus in the USA you have  the founding of Georgetown, Loyola, Marquette, Creighton, etc. etc.   God writes straight with crooked lines as the old saying goes and He used both Orders to do great things.. as St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, said  "All for the greater Glory of God." Now I am reading a western by Michael McGarrity titled: Hard Country.  Like the author Michener he uses historical data of those  years of the 1800s about how the land of the southwest from New Mex through Arizona  was settled by the early ranch and cowboy types who mingled with the Mexicans who had lived there for generations and were still fighting the Apaches.  Vaya con Dios.  The Padre of Holy Name.

Jan 28   Happy 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  I attended Sat eve Mass near here knowing it was among the poor people.  Such a small crowd of older people....made me lonely for Holy Name.  There are areas in San Antonio which have the snowbirds (not here) and are probably packed like Florida. I was suppose to be Austin, invited by a gal who was in Vermillion as a parishioner and whose wedding I had years ago.  Their life and careers are here and she wanted me to meet her two little girls.  But last night I came down with a fever and slept for 11 hours.  Better today.  One of the sems told me it could be what they call cedar fever.  The Texas hill country is loaded with cedars which are pollinating right now.....maybe.  That one would be  new for me if true.  It rained this morning and maybe that is why I am feeling better.  So I stayed in and did Spanish homework.  My thoughts went back to a book I read while in Brookings...loaned to me by Joan Hogan. I do not remember the author but I do remember his contention. He is a Harvard linguistic scientist.  He said every child from the womb is hard wired to learn language and for a new born there is no one language which is harder than another.  Thus Chincese and English would be equal....all children begin speaking their mother's tongue at the same age more or less. With the learning of language comes human consciousness and that is why our earliest memories do not go back before we learned words....  and then he proposed something the Harvard atheists took exception to...that this was a sign of the presence of the soul in humans since our consciousness is so much higher developed than the animal kingdom leading to science, ability to believe and philosophize to a Higher Power.    I believe him but just wish I could have that fresh mind of a child when trying to study this language.  Bi-lingual capacity happens best before ten years of age where it happens and those children think equally in either language...no translating in their heads.  Wow....    the only other answer is to have the gift of Tongues like at Pentecost.  That would be a special gift.     Enough of my wishful thinking...now to study more vocabulary.       Vaya con Dios this week.  Padre Miguel

Feb 2: Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas day.  This was and still is an important day in Spanish and Latino culture for people all come to church to either get a blessed candle or bring some to be blessed to light at home whenever special prayers are needed in case of danger, storms, or sickness. Thus the tradition of using two freshly blessed candles for the blessing of St. Blaise tomorrow, Feb 3.  Candlemas (Feb 2) because Christ, the light of the world, came into the temple today, 40 days after his birth.     A professor told us a story yesterday about a new priest being assigned to an area solidly Hispanic and thought he should set up extra chairs for Christmas and Easter but no more showed up than regular Sundays.  But he did not know he should set out extra chairs for Ash Wed.  Good Friday, the day of the Dead (Nov 2 El dia de Los Muertos) and for Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Among Hispanics these are high holy days....often identifying with the suffering and death of Jesus.

Sunday: Feb 5  Attended Mass at San Fernando Cathedral.  At the end the young Hispanic priest had four blessings: For candles from the Candlemas (Feb 2) and for children (for the Presentation of baby Jesus on Feb 2)  for baby Jesus figurines brought by the people and the one of St. Blaise, bishop and Martyr (Feb 3).  Two of these are unique Hispanic traditions. People take their blessed candles home for the coming year for times of prayer.  And since Feb 2 celebrated the 40 day old baby Jesus presented in the temple small Christmas crib size Jesus figures were held up for blessings...either from this year's crib or for next year's crib.  The Spanish bring their children within the first three years of their life for  La Presentacion...a blessing of presenting their children to the Lord.  This represents both the presentation of Jesus tradition and the presentation of Mary, an early tradition that Ann and Joachim brought her to the temple at around age three for a presentation.  Think of our religious order of sisters in South Dakota...the Presentations...named after this Mary tradition.   The priest told a superbowl joke:  The angels decided to have their own superbowl. Michael led the good angels and Lucifer the bad angels.  Michael spoke first..."why not just throw in the towel, we have all the super heroes on our side.  Lucifer responded: not so quick, remember! we have all the referees on our side."
      Saturday a friend passing through town, Dr. Staber, and I, visited the Alamo. It was the annual round up day. I observed numerous cattle trailers loaded with riding horses and long horns. At high noon the vaqueros would herd the longhorns through the main streets to and from the Alamo. The longhorns looked beautiful but dangerous with their four to six foot horns. In the Alamo were all kinds of re-enactment experts from the time of 1836: a western doctor domonstration to the law keepers and soldiers up to an early telegraph system.  They were all great teachers for the tourists and children.  There was a perfect look alike of John Wayne who sounded and acted the part with all the tourists.  We did not stay for the cattle run but drove up to Fredrickburg for dinner at a Bavarian restaurant.  This city near San Antonio is proud of their German heritage. It was a city started by the Germans in 1846 after Baron Muesteung (spelling?) struck a peace treaty with the local Commanches who never troubled this town. The great Admiral of WWII, Nimitz, was from this town and they have a great naval museum in his honor.   Around San Antonio are a number of early Catholic ethnic cities from the mid 1800s.  Castorville represents the Alsace people and another town the Bohemian or Czeck people, etc.  I will not have time to make the rounds....maybe some other time in life. Tomorrow I begin my last week of classes here. But tonight will be for the superbowl and its commercials.

February 10

After I graduate in a few days in this program I will prepare to travel to El Paso...almost 600 miles of driving across what they tell me is pretty boring Texas brush landscape after going through the first part, much more scenic, the Texas hill country.  I have been researching the old Spanish missions of El Paso and will write some now as I am to be only a brief time in El Paso before going on to Arizona and Fr. Kino's famous mission establishments.  El Paso represents the oldest mission route in Texas. This is the second royal road "Camino Real" I shall visit.  All the ancient caminos started and returned to Mexico City, the capital of New Spain beginning in the 1500s.  This road led to Santa Fe  (1609) (plus other missions in the region of Taos and Albuequerque) along the Rio Grande which is fed from the southern rockie mountains. The Rio Grande begins the Mexico/Texas border at El Paso.  The Spanish were adventurists and were always seeking gold....but ahead of them and with them were the Franciscans who wanted to spread the gospel first. Three Franciscans led by Friar Augustin Rodriguez came into this area at Elizario (part of El Paso today) in 1581 to preach to the natives.  Their positive reports later led  conquistador Don Juan de Onate in 1598 to lead 500 colonists (+7000 head of livestock, cattle, horses, oxen and sheep) and 83 wagons of supplies to colonize this site.  They offered a Mass of Thanksgiving upon arrival on April 30, 1598 and had a thanksgiving fiesta...thus claiming the first thanksgiving celebration in the present USA.  (You must see the counter brag earlier in this journal from St. Augustine, Florida)   The first mission was at Juarez...on the Texas side and four more missions were built in the next two generations. A significant growth came about when many Spanish and christian natives fled Santa Fe in the pueblo revolt (various natives and the warring Apaches) of 1680 and came to live  in El Paso.  The river provided much irrigation in the alluvial plain but it also was famous for switching channels with floods and wiping out settlements and missions.   Missions once established on the Mexican side are now on the American side.  The river is properly flood controlled today.  Today there are two missions one can visit.  Mission Ysleta is still active.  Its original structure of 1682 had to be rebuilt and today's structure of adobe, straw and brick and clay dates to 1851.  The other mission is Socorro mission two miles further on the old mission road.  This one was built by the Piro Indians in 1681 who assimilated to the Tiguas Indian population. A third one still stands, San Elizario, but is not open to the public but it represents the site where the governor of the first colony, de Onate, issued his 1598 proclamation claiming the region for Spain.   The irrigation ditches the Franciscans engineered are the same ones (modernized) used for the cotton and almond industry and to support the still strong cattle industry.  I am to arrive there Sunday afternoon, Feb 12....so will reflect more on what I discover then.

Sunday - Feb 12:   I thought western SD  ...esp  I 90 was boring to drive...but the stretch from Kerrville to El Paso (500 miles) makes the SD drive a walk in the park.  There were high wind warnings the last 200 miles and sand and tumbleweeds blew across the road.  I stayed with Fr. Jack Reidman last night and we had Mass...so I could leave at first light this morning.  I got here in plenty of time to explore the three missions I mentioned above.  I wish I learned to post pictures to this site ..will develop them for the bulletin board once I am home.  There is an old mission road connecting all three in a ten mile drive.  Corpus Christi de la Ysleta was the first.  The old mission bells were ringing for the 1 pm Mass when I arrived.  However, the interior of the church is being restored so Mass was across the parking lot at the associated parish of Mt. Carmel which is stone block church with a parish school attached.  It was great to see a pile of cars parked for Mass...it is quite the active parish for descendants of the native tribes, the Hispanics, and the whites.  It shows one parish can combine three groups if everyone is willing.   Then I went to Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion del Socorro.  Beautiful white adobe on the outside and very ancient but clean on the inside.  Finally came the Elizario military chapel which is now a parish also.  I was told this was closed for renovation but they just completed it and the new white wash made it shine brilliantly on the outside.  Since it was the latest built by the Spanish it is more spacious. It was done in what they call the Spanish colonial revival style.   The associated garrison has a fortification for Spain in the new world but was abandoned with Mexican Independence and not revived until the U.S. won the territory in 1848 and managed the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which put the new U.S. and Mexican border as the Rio Grand River.  I could see the existing fence or wall from this mission.  Though there were people always living and farming and ranching continuously ....the new U.S. ownership caused a fresh influx of new people and thus a new Church was built on the ruins of the old one...today's church, completed in 1887.    I tried to explore modern El Paso but it was confusing. It is a city of about 800,000 people and a shipping, oil, refining, tourist, etc. town.    It is so full of travelers these days that all the hotels are full and the clerk at the desk almost did not honor my reservation...he finally found one last room.  I watched many others after me come into the lobby and were turned away and they said they had tried everywhere.
     Before I left San Antonio I was invited by a friend and her family to attend the world famous San Antonio Rodeo (Friday night).  This is a 7 day affair..rodeo, carnival-fair, bands, stock shows, etc. It is second only to the Las Vegas' annual rodeo.  In fact the ranking goes as follows: Las Vegas, San Antonio, Calgary, and Houston.  The cowboys can earn the most points at these four.  There were a number from SD  doing their thing...from Ft. Pierre, Timberlake, Buffalo, and Rapid City.  After the Rodeo a delightful band performed: Little Big Town.  But it was about midnight when said and done. Fun, fun.
The Padre

Feb 13: Left in rain and drove across N. Mexico in rain. The desert will love that.  I stopped at Las Cruces, N. Mex  for breakfast.  There is no mission by that name there.  The town came about much later than Santa Fe or El Paso.  Two legends for the name: 1) late 1700s a priest, some trappers, etc. exploring were killed and buried there and crosses marked the spot.  Las Cruces means  The Crosses in Spanish; in fact, the full name was  "El Jardin de las Cruces."  2) the Spanish just named this good place to cross the river "The Crossing."  There were two Catholic sites nearby. One just east was Dona Ana (the county name yet today).  The other one was started after the 1848 treaty made the land east of Rio Grande here  American and west of it was still Mexico.  Those centuries old Spanish and Indian families wanted to remain Spanish so the moved west of the river and started a site called Mesilla.  However, only six years later, in 1854, the USA bought a chunk of land from Mexico for 10 million dollars called the Gadsden Purchase and lower N. Mexico and lower Arizona (including Tucson) were a new part of the USA and thus the Mesillans became U.S. citizens anyway.  This is part of the reason Arizona and New Mexico did not become states for a long while.  I found there are 20 old missions one could explore all through N. Mexico if there were time.  About half are functioning and half are just archaeological sites.  Another trip some day.  Then I arrived at Bill and Rita Chase's place and the sun broke out...about 68 degrees.  We are in a development called Green Valley south of Tucson.

Fr. Eusebius Francisco Kino was born 1645 in Italy and wanted to be a missionary to the new world. So he joined the Jesuits and learned Spanish. But he also developed skills in other useful areas such as astronomy, cattle raising, orchards, agriculture, map making, and all theology related to the gospel and church history.  Later he became a linguist as he tried to master the various Indian dialects. He worked in Mexican missions and three years in Baja California (the lower Peninsula) before starting his mission building in the Sonora desert which is on both sides of the border today. In all he started 24 missions and 8 are identified sites in Arizona. However, only one is an active church and parish today, San Xavier del Bac south of Tucson.  One other has become a national historic site preserved by the national parks: San Jose de Tumacacori.  Bill and I visited this site this afternoon. Fr. Kino came at the request of the Tumacacori Indians who heard  of the fruits, vegetables, and cattle he introduced in the Mexican missions and they wanted him to do the same for them...which he did. The mission suffered ups and downs after his death and was abandoned for some time and was without a priest after 1767 due to the King of Spain banishing and arresting Jesuit priests.  Finally in 1807 the Franciscans arrived...who are still at St. Xavier del Bac took over this mission and built a more modern church (its old shell still stands).  Fr. Juan Crisostomo de Bernabe was the first to re-establish the mission.  The natives had maintained the ranch lands and orchards in the mean time. But with the conquest of Mexico by the U.S. and the treaty of 1848 and withdrawal of priests plus the Apache raids...the mission died after 1848. Theodore Roosevelt made it an historical site which earlyexplains its preservation to this day.

Feb 14  Happy Anniversary.  Since yesterday's tour suggested that Fr. Kino got as far north as Tucson and unable to find any literature on this I set out to the Cathedral and Chancery Office to learn more. St. Augustine Cathedral just completed a masterful renovation of this Spanish style century old gem. Their history pamphlet mentioned that in a sense the Cathedral could trace its history to an early mission the Jesuits had established at the base of "A" peak (Indians had called it Black Mountain) in the early 1700s.  Fr. Kino had mentioned he traveled north for a mission to be established at what he called 'visitas'.  The cathedral pamphlet stated that the ancient site was sometimes called 'visitas'. With Apache attacks and recall of the Jesuits to Mexico they moved worship to the protected site of the military chapel at the presidio north of town.  So we set out on an exploration journey. First we visited a large bronze statue of Kino on his horse a few miles from the Cathedral and then drove to the base of the mountain for a picture of the large A on the mountainside the Univ. of Arizona placed there.  By happy coincidence there was a new walled compound by the road that looked like the walls around other Spanish mission complexes.  It turned out that a society called the "friends of the birthplace of Tucson"  are developing what is called  Mission Gardens on the original site. Nearby were discoveries in archaeological digs of ancient native activity back to 2000 B.C.  By 200 B.C. the Hohokams made their presence known and by 1450 AD  today's  O'odham came on the scene.  Much of this was determined by changing pottery styles.  I learned that this mission site was served by the main site of the San Xavier del Bac mission about 7 miles south of the site. That was our next visit to the impressive mission still very busy as a parish with a full  K-8 school.  San Xavier just completed an extensive recovery of its art and major repairs to make this a great visit.  Called the white dove of the desert the bright white walls shine brilliantly.  In 1692 Fr. Kino founded this mission named after his patron saint of St. Francis Xavier, founder of the Jesuits and missionary to the Orient.  Bac was the name of the village named after a fresh spring consistently flowing.  He found about 800 natives in the area so the mission grew rapidly. It serves the Tohono O'odham people today on the San Xavier Indian Reservation.  There are several Franciscan priests and a brother living here and one branch of the Franciscan sisters run the school. The old adobe Jesuit Church was deteriorated after the Jesuits were withdrawn to Mexico in the mid 1700s.  The Franciscans came and completed the new Church in 1797.  But after the Mexican revolution and independence in 1821 those Franciscans and associates associated with Spain were banished.  The diocese of Santa Fe which all of Arizona belonged to at the time sent a priest to care for the people without Franciscans around.  But they returned in 1912 until the present day.  In a movie clip from PBS we heard a native say that the church was not from the outside but from the heart of the native people as was their faith.  The church people were part of the family of the Tohono O'odham family....noting this was different in their experience from so many other native American experiences in other states.
     The Catholics of the early movable Tucson mission finally desired to have a parish of their own, a cathedral built.  Fr. Jean Salpointe from Santa Fe was sent in the 1860s to plan just this.  The first Bishop of the new diocese of Tucson came in 1897 but it was his successor, Bishop Granjohen, who completed the cathedral before his death in 1922....the one we see today.  And then we enjoyed the best Indian fry bread ever...sold by native cooks with their stoves and stands around the parking lot. With this entry I have completed the Arizona missions exploration. Stay tuned for the week-end.

Feb 15:     Know that I was debating my further trip to California.  There has been so many mud slides and rain and flood watches and so many of the missions are along the coast.  And I have to admit after all this time on the road I would enjoy a travel partner as I do this alone.  And the pace is immense and I thought to slowly return to SD through missions of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  But that would hinder my original aim to make it to tomb of our new hero saint of the Missions: St. Junipero Serra in the mission of Carmel by the Sea.  Today my good friend from Rome days, Bishop Rich Garcia of Monterey (whose home is behind the mission) encouraged me to come and spend a day with him.  He did say the mudslides were a danger and I should be careful but he continues to travel about.  That encouraged me to continue to travel...tomorrow to Pala and San Antonio Mission.

Feb 16  A nice drive to Yuma across the Arizona desert..then the Imperial valley.  I noticed I was making 50 mpg today....when I usually make 38 to 40.   Why? better gas...driving 65 instead of 80? tailwind?   Then my googlemaps directed me to take Imperial highway as a shortcut through the badlands....horrible drive...cell phone out of contact. What would I do if I broke down...no phone and I seldom saw a car?  Finally after 60 miles I reached some mountain towns and then the mission of St. Anthony of Pala.  Technically it was known as "Asistencia San Antonio de Pala" (for the Pala Indians) and was started in 1810 by Fr. Anthonio Peyri OFM and the church completed in 1818.  It had a two bell tower separate from the Church...the only such old mission to have this arrangement.  It made me feel good since I had built two such; a separate bell tower in Brookings and at I.C.   There was a couple from PA who were doing the missions and wondered why this was not the St. Anthony which Junipero Serra began the previous century.  Whoops....I made the same mistake.  Google had taken me to this one instead of the one south of San Francisco...about 400 miles away...which Saint Junipero Serra started.  However, I did learn this mission was one of the most successful in the early years, converting over 1300 Pala natives between 1818 and 1846 when the Mexican nation secularized it. It was renovated in 1903.  I had passed another mission earlier in the mountains begun several years later (1818)- San Ysabel.  So I am hitting a few of the 21 missions if not yet the original 9 of Junipero Serra.  I have seen 4 of those 9 in previous years but wished I could see the other 5.  But with one of the worse storms in 10 years predicted for the central L.A. which I am to cross tomorrow (5 to 7 inches predicted) it remains uncertain the outcome of my mission.  Finally, I have come to the third Camino Real (royal roads) centered out of Mexico City, capital of new Spain: #1 from St. Augustine through Louisiana and to Texas down to Mex. City...#2 from Mex City up through El Paso to Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and now #3 from Mex. City up through California.  These ancient highways (or mapped paths) predated any other major road system in the USA, long before the likes of the Oregon Trail, etc.  I am hoteled at a Quality Inn for the night near Pala, CA.  Good evening!
Quality Inn for the night near Pala, CA.   Good Evening.


Feb 18  Am now in Phoenix.  Bishop Garcia of the Carmel mission told me by phone not to come...power out, mud slides, closed canyons.  I rushed out before 6 am to stay ahead of the deluge...pleasant drive on  I 40.  At the pass before Arizona in a remote spot is the General Patton Museum and many of tanks, etc.  He used this area all the way to Yuma to train over a million men for the WWII battle for north Africa.  Msgr Andraschko welcomed my surprise visit. I concelebrated with him at the large modern parish of St. Thomas More where Watertown native Steve Raml is both liturgical and music director.  Great to visit with him.

 I am reading on the missions of New Mexico....far too many ruins (and some still with Mass)  up and down the Rio Grande to share in this blog or to visit...from Las Cruces to Taos.  I plan to visit the the main one in old town Albuquerque and two of Santa Fe before heading to Colorado. They are San Felipe de Neri of Albuquerque and San Miguel (St. Michael) of Santa Fe along with its cathedral of St. Francis of Asisi.  Will report back to you all.  It is good to rest up today after my travels.  

Feb 19  A long trip this day (440 miles) through some snow in high elevation Flagstaff (7000 ft) and Gallup NM (7200+ ft).  High desert driving  along the Navajo Nation reservation.  I-40 overlays the famous route 66 (some parts still open for nostalgic driving).  I could not stop but as I approached Albuquerque I saw signs of the ancient pueblo (early Spanish and Indian villages) sites still active: Zuni Pueblo, Acoma pueblo,  San Fidel, Laguna and Isleta  etc.  Tourist signs indicated a place called sky city...with the enchanted Mesa.  There were once ancient peoples who used these inaccessible table tops (above cliffs) for self defense purposes while hunting and farming in the valleys.  The excavated sites of Acomita and Mesita  preserves some of this history.  I went to the old city (lovely for tourists) to visit the oldest existing building in Albuquerque: San Felipe de Neri which present building dates from 1792.  It has active Masses every week-end.  There was an earlier adobe church started by Fr. Manuel Moreno OFM in 1706 when he came with the Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez who at first named the settlement San Francisco after his patron.  But soon the Duke of Albuquerque (after whom the city was then named: Villa de Albuquerque) changed the church's name to San Felipe de Neri after his King Philip of Spain.  The plaza and church were started on the Camino Real coming up from Mexico City and following the Rio Grande, called El Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road to the interior land).  New Mexico has more ancient Spanish Missions (some still active but most preserved as ruins) then Texas and Arizona combined.  The many tributaries coming out of the mountains were dwellings of large variety of different Indian tribes and traditions, thus the Spanish went to them for their missions and ag developments while the  Spanish garrisons were established to keep Spain's claim on the new lands from the French and English, etc.        Steve, Lisa, and I dined in an old town historical favorite with adoble walls: High Noon Saloon and Restaurant.

Feb 20  Santa Fe:  elevation 7000 feet, 68000 people, oldest state capital in the USA.  Beautiful city but haven for many rich Hollywood, silicon valley types and no ordinary person can afford the real estate for a nice home.  Don Ornate who started El Paso and area from Mexico came up the Rio Grande the same year of 1598 and sited a future settlement.  Colonists and the Catholic Tlaxscan Indians from Mexico came in 1607 and started a place north of the town called San Gabriel de los Espanolos. But the Tlaxscans saw in the Santa Fe area an abandoned pueblo and asked to settle there. A friar stayed with them.   By 1609/10 a new governor said San Gabriel was not fit to be the territorial capital and came down to Santa Fe as well and established the town originally named "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis" (The royal town of the holy faith of St. Francis of Assisi). The town became known as Santa Fe but the church and future cathedral kept the name St. Francis of Assisi.  The first church to be built was started in 1610 and finished in 1626 where the Tlaxscans lived on the other side of the small creek of Santa Fe which flows into the Rio Grande.  It was named San Miguel (Michael).  Though the adobe has been fixed several times it still serves people and is the oldest parish church in the USA without being replaced as the one in St. Augustine Florida was several times.  The Christian brothers were invited to come in 1859 by the new bishop Lamy (made famous by the fictional history book of Willa Cather "Death comes for the Archbishop" in 1927). They started a boys academy or college while the Loretto sisters started a girls school three blocks away. The sisters left by 1967 and a hotel bought their famous chapel which has a staircase possibly built by a mysterious figure who showed up one day to help them and mysteriously disappeared.  No nails were used and ancient methods of woodwork was used and the sisters were sure it was St. Joseph. It is a very good story to investigate.  The magnificent Loretto hotel owns it. The Hotel is a wonderful site to visit as well.  Anyway, the Christian Brothers own the chapel to this day...and two Masses are offered on Sunday: 2 pm..old Latin, and 5 pm in English.  The church houses an ancient St. Joseph bell once in the church bell tower with its own unique legend.  The girls school combined with the Christian brothers school and they built a new co-ed high school about three miles down the road. It is tuition driven and the brothers raise money without subsidies from the diocese or the parishes.  Lamy came from France and was a giant among men but much controversy surrounds his ambitions but he did put Santa Fe on the church map with his magnificent Cathedral.  After the Mexican revolution and their banishment of the Franciscans New Mexico was left with only 9 priests under the radar when he came....and there was scandal.  He brought people and sisters from both France and Louisiana, both French and eventually was in charge of his own diocese which covered four states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico).  When the U.S. won the war of 1848 with Mexico and gained this state and much of California and Arizona in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 the governor and people of Santa Fe applied to the U.S. Congess to become a new state like Texas had.  But congress, protestant prejudice, rejected the petition because the area was too Spanish and too Catholic and made it a territory.  That plea for statehood was rejected for 62 years until New Mexico and Arizona became states in 1912.  Earlier in this blog I said "happy anniversary"   That is what the deacon said the other day in Arizona at Mass because it was the day 105 years before that statehood happened.   Today the Cathedral is a beautiful church, refurbished recently so that it just sparkles. I do not want to bore my readers with a hundred other little details, fascinating for those who love history and the faith....but put Santa Fe on your tour list.  With this I think my blog is at its end as I begin my final drive home.