TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT OF NM: 1821 – 1831

1831 Exposición by Padre Martínez: Commentary by David Weber

Translation by Juan Romero –  Introduction

On the tenth anniversary of Mexican Independence from Spain, Padre Antonio José Martínez of Taos wrote and presented Exposición, a treatise on the Territorial government of New Mexico dated November 11, 1831. In his presentation made to his fellow delegates of New Mexico, Padre Martínez attempted to clarify the meaning of their representative body called La Diputación, the legal body of elected “deputies” or representatives of New Mexico under the government of the Republic of Mexico that lasted from Mexican Independence from Spain in 1821 until the occupation of New Mexico by the United States in 1846. In his treatise, Padre Martínez also advocated  that the limited powers of the Diputación be broadened. After its members received, read, and ratified the Exposición, they sent it for enactment to the representative of the federal government in Mexico City.

David Weber (1940-2110), first-rate scholar of things and people New Mexican, authored a classic Padre Martinez-related work in 1996–On the Edge of the Empire: The Taos Hacienda of Los Martínez. While teaching at San Diego State University in 1975, Weber wrote his commentary on the 1831 Exposición by Padre Martínez for the journal of El Colegio De Mexico, and it was published as El Gobierno Territorial de Nuevo México: La Exposición del Padre Martínez de 1831.

The actual Spanish text for the Padre Martinez document Exposición de 1831 is from the H.H. Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley. It is rerpinted in the second part a fourteen-page article by David J. Weber published in Spanish by El Colegio de México, “El govierno territorial de Nuevo México: La Exposición del Padre Martínez de 1831″ in the journal Historia Mexicana Vol. 25, No. 2 (Oct.-Dec., 1975), pp. 302 to 310. The first eight pages are a commentary by Weber, and a facsimile of the original Padre Martínez text follows.

One may read the article for free, or download and purchase it for $19.  Access JSTOR through one’s educational institution OR join <REGISTER & READ beata Program> online for free. An indiidual scholar or researcher may register at the following link: <https://www.jstor.org/action/showLogin?redirectUri=%2F>. Write in and SELECT “El govierno territorial de Nuevo México: La Exposición del Padre Matnez de 1831″. To read the full text, add the article to your “reading shelf”.

David Weber, familiar with my English version of the Santiago Valdez 1877 Biografía del Presbítero Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos,  encouraged me to publish it–something yet to be done. With this blog item, I present my English adaptation of Weber’s commentary on the Padre’s Exposición, but without accompanying footnotes that may be found in the Spanish online version cited above.  The accompanying blog item is my English translation of the Padre Martínez Exposición de 1831.

My Adaptation in English of David Weber’s Commentary

In October of 1830, the District of Taos elected their parish priest and “home boy” Padre Antonio José Martínez to serve for two years as a member of the Diputación de Nuevo México, the local legislative delegation of seven representatives. The New Mexican territorial legislature of the republic of Mexico was convoked about a month later, and on November 7, 1830, Martínez traveled south sixty miles or so toward Santa Fe where the sessions were about to begin.

After about a year of service in the Diputación, the Cura de Taos became convinced that the most urgent problems of New Mexico would not be resolved unless the Diputación would come to have greater authority. Padre Martínez left some writings about this matter in an essay or treatise entitled Exposición dated November 11, 1831. He addressed it to José Antonio Chavez, Governor of New Mexico who at the time was also President of the Diputación. Martínez held that the Diputación was so weak that it would end up dissolving on its own. He wrote that the Diputación was in practice charged with only three functions: supervising primary schools, granting land, and maintaining relations with the Supreme Congress in Mexico City through the Deputy (representative of the Diputacion) of New Mexico. Martínez held that the Diputación was lacking sufficient power to effectively be in charge of the three areas, and that they would be better managed by various local town governments (ayuntamientos) together with a political chief of a territory, a mayor or an equivalent.

Of greater importance, moreover, Padre Martínez argued that the Diputación lacked the power to resolve the more urgent problems of the territory: juridical inefficiency, necessary church reform, and military defense in the face of depredations of New Mexicans by so-called uncivilized Indians. The priest was also bothered because members of the Diputación did not receive any salary. The seven Deputies had attended the sessions at their own expense, and without attending much to their own business affairs. Martínez insinuated that unless the Diputación became an important body with real power to obtain significant reforms, it would not be worth wasting the necessary time and money to continue its activities.

Padre Martínez gave his presentation (Exposición) before the territorial Diputación on November 11, 1831. The Deputies, the other six elected representatives of New Mexico, voted in favor of his presentation, and decided that the document be sent to the Congress in Mexico City. The next day, the Diputación addressed a letter to Anastacio Bustamonte, Vice President of the national Mexican legislative body, but who wasat the time functioning as its President. The Deputies asked him to present the Exposición of Padre Martínez to the Mexican Congress in the hope that the governing body “would wisely take more energetic steps …to remedy the positively difficult wrongs that…afflict this forsaken land” of New Mexico.

The Diputación sent the presentation (Exposición) of Padre Martínez together with the Padre’s cover letter to Mexico City where  it arrived, but did not result in any political reform for New Mexico. Historians are aware that Martínez wrote a cover letter, but none have ever seen it. However, the Exposición de 1831 has been preserved at the Archivo General de La Nación (Mexico), and U.C. Berkeley has copy of the text in its own archives.

The Exposición de Padre Martínez is worth becoming better known for its early expression of the viewpoint of one of the most important and controversial historical figures of New Mexico. Antonio José Martínez from a well-to-do family was born in Abiquiú, New Mexico in 1793.  He studied at the seminary of Durango where he was ordained a priest in February 1822, a year after Mexico’s independence from Spain. He was one of the few native New Mexicans who was ordained to the diocesan priesthood in a Province in which the majority of clergy belonged to the Franciscan order. A few years after returning to New Mexico after his seminary studies, Martínez in 1826 became the parish priest in charge of Taos and its environs. However, he did not technically become pastor until several years later. Taos was his boyhood home where he had moved with his family in 1804 when he was eleven, and where he remained until his death in 1867.

A man of great energy, and one of the few sophisticated persons of that remote and sparsely populated province, Padre Martínez became a dominant figure of the political, religious, and cultural life of New Mexico. He founded educational institutions on the primary level–a school for girls as well as boys–and a preparatory seminary helping other New Mexicans prepare for the priesthood, and after the American occupation opened a law school. From 1835 until the War of 1847, he operated the only printing press of the territory, and occasionally lent it to officials of the government. As a dedicated nationalist and admirer of Padre Hidalgo, Padre Martínez fought to obtain political and ecclesiastical reform in his own jurisdiction. He also called attention to the growing influence of Anglo Americans, and helped many integrate into the life and culture of New Mexico.

Padre Martínez continued his interest in politics, especially as it might be helpful in improving the lot of his fellow New Mexicans. Although his 1831 essay decried the weakness of the Diputación, Martínez served in subsequent legislatures. The political status of New Mexico, under the Constitution of 1836, changed from a territory of the Republic of Mexico to a “Departmento“–analogous to a state in the Republic. By1837, Padre Martínez was elected to the Junta Departamental, at the time called La Legislatura. He was elected to that same position again in 1845, but the post was now called the Asamblea Departamental. Either within or outside of the Provincial Departmental Assembly, Padre Martínez was involved in many political battles. For example, in 1837, he tried to pacify popular uprisings against the new taxes that arose in Taos and in Chimayó, and that had been imposed by the Departmental system introduced by Governor Albino Perez. He wrote his own autobiography at this time, and the following year of 1838 published it on his printing press as Relación de Los Méritos del Presbítero Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos.

During the last decade of his life, Padre Martínez found himself involved in a complex struggle with native Frenchman Jean Baptiste Lamy who served as the first bishop of New Mexico after it became a political entity under the American flag. The priest’s public opposition to his bishop’s reinstatement of tithing as church policy became the tipping point of the conflict that led to the Padre’s ecclesiastical censures.  Through suspension in 1856, Bishop Lamy deprived Padre Martínez of his license (faculties) to function as a priest. Two years later and nine years before his death, Bishop Lamy officially excommunicated Padre Martínez in 1858. However, in order to serve family members and parishioners loyal to him but inadequately served in the new ecclesiastical regime, the Padre continued to minister from his own private chapel and from other similar chapels in the vicinity.

The Exposición de 1831 offers a window into the insights of Padre Martínez’ political thinking. It sheds important light on the situation of New Mexico and indirectly also upon its whole northern borderlands. In the document, Padre Martínez publicly laments the weakness and limits of the Diputación of New Mexico, and adamantly contrasts those limits with the power of the legislatures of states in the young Mexican republic.

The Diputación was, in a sense, a precursor to the state legislature. The Diputaciones in Spain were established as centers of resistance against Napoleonic invasion of 1808, and they remained formalized by the liberal Spanish courts that authorized their establishment in the New World. In Mexico, the Diputación rapidly evolved to become a vital force within regional politics, promoting the fall of the Iturbe regime, and playing an important role in the tumultuous business affairs conducted with the adoption of the federal constitution of 1824. Under that constitution, the Diputaciones matured to become transformed into relatively autonomous state legislatures whose responsibilities remained expressed in the respective state constitutions. These legislatures generally had more power and greater autonomy than the Diputaciones. They were also much larger bodies whose members generally were supposed to receive a salary during the time they were in session.

Meanwhile the rest of Mexico was experimenting with representative government on the state level, but the situation of the territories was different. New Mexico was one of five territories created in 1824, together with Alta California, Baja California, Colima and Tlaxala.  Under the 1824 Constitution, the Mexican Congress expedited laws for the internal administration of its territories. Nevertheless, the weight of other more urgent matters did not allow the Congress to act. Under the Constitution of 1824,  the territories remained in a kind of political limbo in spite of the protests of functionaries on all levels.  Without approval or guidance from Mexico’s national Congress, the Diputación of New Mexico established in 1822 continued to function without authorization under the Constitution of 1824.

Lacking in any current legislation regarding its responsibilities, the Diputación of NM continued its procedures established by the Spanish Constitution of 1812 (Title VI, Chapter II) and by a Spanish decree of June 23, 1823. Spanish law granted it powers to supervise the collection of taxes and expenditures of funds of its province in order to promote public health and public education, to foster agriculture, industry, and commerce, and to ensure the welfare of the missions, monitor the abuses of the clergy, and finally to take up the census and collect statistics.

These powers were apparently ample, but were limited by other regulations that permitted the Diputación to be nothing much more than a consultative body. Both the Constitution of 1812 and the Decree of June 23, 1823 made it very clear that the Governor exercised ultimate authority. All communication between the Diputación and the central government had to be channeled through the governor in the same way as any other communication with municipal governments. The Governor was the only one who could promulgate laws and decrees in the province. Moreover, it was required that the Diputación consult the central government and wait for its approval in order to be able to act on important questions. Even routine plans to promote agriculture, industry, commerce or the arts—for example—had to be sent to the government for approval.

While continuing to act according to Spanish laws, the Diputación of New Mexico was converted into an anachronism for the young federal republic. The complaints of Padre Martínez were, then, not exaggerated, and other new Hispanos agreed with him. Juan Eestevan Pino, in 1829, referred to the Diputación saying that it functioned “without initiative”, although it was “representative of this territory”. Antonio Barreiro, its elected leader at the time Padre Martinez penned his Exposición, wrote in 1832 that the power of the Diputación “is null and insignificant, because it does not have enough authority to be able to work for itself”. Moreover, Barreiro signaled that under the decree of June 23, 1823, the attributes of the Diputación “were absolutely ideal because it made for some tension  with our system and others since they do not agree with the circumstances of the country.”

In this way, the federalist dream of autonomy and local government that would respond to local conditions was a failure for the territory of New Mexico. In the preamble for the Constitution of 1824, a committee headed by Lorenzo de Zavala had been enlarged in favor of a strong regional government, bringing together questions such as “what relationships of convenience and uniformity can there be between the warm earth of Veracruz and the frigid mountains of New Mexico?” The question was never answered in any satisfactory way. New Mexico, left with an antiquated territorial government with little room for local initiative, was isolated with two separate issues of defense: one against autonomous Indian tribes who are mounted and well armed, and the other against Anglo-Americans who are advancing toward the west.

It is worthwhile to note the fact that the federal system also failed in its intent to provide representative governments in the other two provinces of the distant northern border of Alta California and Texas. Just as in New Mexico, the Diputación of the territory of Alta California continued to function under Spanish laws. One of the proofs for the little importance of the Diputación of Alta California is the fact that over a period of several years, it would not meet for anything. One French observer who visited California in 1827-1828 noticed that its Diputación “only met to applaud any opinion of the civil and military chief”. That judgment was probably not very far from the reality. The attitude of the military governor of Alta California with respect to civil authority was summarized by the acting governor Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Gutierrez who is known to have said that he “had no need for deputies (elected representatives) “with pen and voice” so as long as he had a sufficient number of deputies “with sword and pistol.”

Texas completely lost its Deputación upon being merged with Coahuila in 1824. In one of the first sessions, on August 28, 1824 in Saltillo, the legislature of Coahuila and Texas abolished the Diputación of Texas. Moreover, the delegate for Texas did not come to express his opinion on this question, and the decision was not well received in San Antonio. Nevertheless, the resistance seemed futile. In the Departamento de Texas, therefore, the only bodies of elected officials that existed between 1824 and 1836 were on the municipal level. In 1832 the city government of San Antonio deplored the failure of the [Mexican] Congress to establish in Texas a government that understood local conditions, and blamed this failure on the “paralyzing” of Texas.

In this way, under the Constitution of 1824, the furthest provinces of the northern frontier–Alta California and Texas, in the same way as New Mexico–were able to count themselves among the weakest links of the federalist system. At the same time, there did not exist other provinces in the nation that were more exposed to the danger of being absorbed or conquered by the United States or by another outside power. As the men of the frontier used to know so well, the political weakness of the provinces used to contribute to its vulnerability.

El Crepúculo de la Libertad, a short-lived newspaper founded by Padre Martínez and published in Santa Fe at the end of 1834, expressed its opinion on the ultimate consequence of the [Mexican] federal abandonment of New Mexican territory and of the rest of the northern borderlands. In one of its editorials, El Crepúculo asked, “What other consequences ought this deplorable abandonment bring to the nation?” The answer: “The loss of New Mexico and its dismemberment from Mexican territory.”  El Crepúsculo, mistakenly, began to predict that the United States would not use force to conquer New Mexico. “No,” it editorialized, ” the [18th] century ended, and cast to the ground this manner of subjugating peoples: the empire of brutal force has been substituted by the strength of the conviction of reason….” If the United States were to conquer New Mexico, it would be with “its industry, its ideas of liberty and independence, and the stars of the capitol of the north would undoubtedly shine brighter in New Mexico insofar as its darkness is thicker because of the deplorable state in which the politics of the Mexican cabinet holds it.” El Crepúsculo could not have been more mistaken about announcing that brutal force had ceased being in vogue. However, its prediction concerning the failure of the (U.S.) federal government in attending to the necessities of the borderland could not have been more on target, and would have to lead to the “dismembering of Mexican territory”.

Opposition to Tithing and Ecclesiastical Censures

As a young priest, Padre Martinez objected to tithing that he perceived as a severe burden on the poor.  Since 1829–only three years after he arrived back in Taos as the priest in charge–he publicly voiced his opinion.  As a civil legislator for the Departamento de Nuevo Mexico in the still new Republic of Mexico, independent from Spain since 1821, Padre Martinez advocated abolishing the system of tithing.  In a union of church and state–for centuries, the norm  in Europe and by extension in early Hispanic America–the government was in charge of collecting tithes as income to pay government expenses as well as church expenses including the salary of clergy.  As early as 1829, without objection from his Bishop José Laureano Zubiría of the Diocese of Durango, Padre Martínez successfully advocated for a change in the policy. Durango Diocese extended to Taos, to the whole northern frontier of the Kingdom of Spain that included all of  New Mexico and beyond.  Tithes were fully abolished by the mid 1830s, but by 1853, Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, the first Bishop of New Mexico after it became part of the United States,revived the policy of tithing.

  Wtit the the American occupation of Santa Fe, New Mexico became a Territory of the United States in 1846.  It new ecclesiastical jurisdiction under the diocese of St. Louis began in July 1851 when the new Vicar Apostolic Bishop Lamy arrived at Santa Fe from Ohio where he had been a missionary priest. Padre Martinez joined the other native New Mexican clergy, Spanish Franciscans and laypeople in welcoming Lamy destined to soon become the first bishop of Santa Fe.  Padre Martinez made overtures to ingratiate himself with the new prelate.  For his part, Bishop Lamy initially sought advice from the Padre known for expertise in canon law, and even borrowed money from Padre Martínez who had come from a relatively wealthy family.

 In his attempt to finance the operation of the still-new diocese, Bishop Lamy promulgated a new policy  about tithing in a Pastoral Letter of the early 1850s .  He imposed the penalty of denying Christian burial to families that did not comply with contributing tithes .

  After serving in his beloved Taos for three decades as a busy parish priest, politician, printer and publisher, Padre Martinez was getting elderly, tired and sickly.  He was thinking of possible retirement, and shared his musings with the Bishop.  As a young man in Durango about to be ordained a priest, Martínez suffered from a breathing condition (asthma?) that impeded his health, but he recovered upon returning to Taos.  As a mature man in later years, he suffered other maladies.  In a letter written at the beginning of January 1856 , Padre Martinez advised Bishop Lamy of his ill health that included  bladder infection and severe rheumatism that made walking difficult.  Martínez requested help, preferably a native New Mexican priest as an assistant, and specifically asked for Don Ramón Medina whom he had trained in his preparatory seminary. Padre Martinez suggested that Padre Medina could ultimately replace him as pastor.  Bishop Lamy chose to interpret the letter as a “resignation,” and  accepted it as such.  The Bishop appointed a new priest to succeed Padre Martínez as pastor of Taos, and the change became effective  within three months by May 1856.

  Bishop Lamy had met Don Dámaso Taladrid, a Basque priest and ex-military chaplain,  during one of his trips to Rome, and invited him to the diocese of Santa Fe, and appointed him to succeed Padre Martínez in Taos. Father Taladrid had little regard for the health situation of Padre Martinez or for his thirty years at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Furthermore, Father Taladrid made it difficult for Padre Martinez to celebrate Mass at the parish, and even refused him permission to preside at the wedding of a favorite niece that was about to take place.  The two priests clashed.

  Father Taladrid newly in charge of Guadalupe Parish in Taos was being disrespectful to Padre Martínez as pastor emeritus. Taladrid made derogatory comments against Martínez, and made it difficult for Martínez to say Mass in the parish church.   To avoid these difficulties Padre Martínez since the summer of 1856 had been building a private oratory with its walled cemetery on his property and at his own expense.  By the fall,in a letter to Bishop Lamy –dated October 1 — PadreMartínez complained about Father Taladrid’s untoward behavior.  At the same time,Martínez formally informed the Bishop of his new private chapel.  However since June, Father Taladrid had already  reported to Bishop Lamy that Martínez was building a private oratory on his own property.

  During this time, the public controversy over Bishop Lamy’s Pastoral Letter that mandated tithes was heating up.  When Bishop Lamy re-introduced the policy of tithing in order to meet new expenses, he imposed exclusion from the rites of Christian burial for the deceased of those families who could not comply.  Padre Martínez, through his public writings in the newspaper La Gaceta of Santa Fe,  strenuously and publicly objected to this change in policy.   

  For his “scandalous writings,” Bishop Lamy suspended Padre Martinez in October 1856.  Suspensio a divinis is the ecclesiastical censure by which a cleric, for a breach of discipline or for moral turupitude, is prohibited from exercising “the divine things” of priestly ministry.  The bishop deprived the suspended priest from his faculties (license) to celebrate Mass, preach, or hear Confessions with Absolution except in danger of death.  In such cases, through the mercy of God, “ecclesia supplet,” the church supplies faculties and jurisdiction for a suspended or excommunicated priest to administer to a dying person the last rites of penance-absolution and anointing with the Holy Oils, and to give Holy Communion, called Viaticum when a Catholic is in either danger of death or already at the point of death . 

  The ultimate ecclesiastical censure of excommunication took place two years later shortly after Easter in the spring 1858.  It is worth noting that church censures imposed on Padre Martinez were not  for moral failings, but specifically for his “scandalous writings” as noted in church records of the Taos parish.  It remains my hope that such penalties be posthumously overturned as was done for Galileo, Joan of Arc, and John Hus.

Pope Francis on Ecology – A Reflection/Commentary

 

The 245 paragraphs within six chapters across 181 pages of the new encyclical of Pope Francis on ecology will likely be one of the most widely read documents after the bible. Hyperbole? I don’t think so, given the worldwide interest in the topic and contemporary media channels. On the Care of Our Common Home ends with a suggestion of two prayers. The first is “A prayer for our earth” echoes themes of St. Francis’ Canticle of Creatures that serves as the title in Italian of the encyclical, Laudato Si, mi’ Signore. http://www.appleseeds.org/canticle.htm The second prayer is for believing Christians.

The style of the letter is eminently readable, unlike the usual genre of papal statements, and is meant for all inhabitants of the earth—not just Catholics or religious folk. Pope Francis intends his message to be joyful, but admits it is also troubling. Even though Francis exhorts, “Let us sing as we go,” he is not a Pollyanna. The encyclical addresses concrete problems about the care of the earth, and it also makes some difficult points.  Read it for yourself.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

In spite of all the challenges and difficulties related to ecology, Pope Francis does not leave us frustrated. In the final paragraph of his message, he concludes with hope:

…the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!

Although released just before the beginning of summer, the work is dated on the feast of Pentecost—May 24, 2015. May the illuminating breath of Yahweh inspire all human beings to receive it well and put it into practice for the world’s health and wellbeing.  I found it intellectually stimulating, scientifically grounded, mystical, poetic, and spiritual. That’s quite a banquet! Above all, it is fraternal–simply signed “Francis”.

 

 

 

RELUCTANT DAWN-A Biography of Padre Martínez Second Editon

An Adobe PDF copy of my monograph RELUCTANT DAWN, A History of Padre Martinez, Cura de Taos may be downloaded for free at the link:

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/dd19c44c-b5c5-4edd-8669-6a60e4eb4b23

I willingly accept a freewill offering in any amount that may be sent to me in care of the following address:

Rev. Juan Romero – PO Box 1947 – Palm Springs, CA 92263

If you wish an autographed hard copy, I request a donation of at least $15 that would also cover postage.

Let me know by email <romerojuanrvi@aol.com>  to whom the book should be dedicated, and where it is to be sent.

You may also order my monograph RELUCTANT DAWN for $16 ($12 + $4/postage) through Amazon at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Dawn-History-Antonio-Martinez/dp/1424308100
ASIN/ISBN 1424308100
http://www.amazon.com/shops/thetaosconnection

GOOGLE will give you a peek (sample):
http://books.google.com/books?id=sPPn813WjmsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Reluctant+Dawn,+Romero&hl=en&sa=X&ei=f3iLUobYMsakyAGs1YGQCA&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Reluctant%20Dawn%2C%20Romero&f=false

The work ha stood the test of time.  MACC (Mexican American Cultural Center – now called MA College) first published it in 1975.  The Taos Connection published a second edition in 2006 on the occasion of the unveiling of the larger than life-sized Padre Martinez bronze Memorial in the Taos Plaza (LA HONRA DE SU PAIS/The Honor of His Homeland).

 

ARCHBISHOP-ELECT JOHN C. WESTER: Utah-NM Connection

Ab-Elect of SF-J.C. WesterFrom one “S.F.” to another “S.F.”: On June 4, after having served as Bishop of Utah (Salt Lake Diocese) for eight years, San Francisco-born John C. Wester will become the new Archbishop of Santa Fe. “When Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi called me from DC to inform me of the appointment, I was stunned, startled, and humbled,” said Bishop-Elect Wester to an American correspondent on a Vatican Radio interview in late April.

Utah and New Mexico for centuries have been linked, and that connection will deepen when the new Archbishop will be installed. The Ute peoples, for whom Utah is named, have lived in the area for over a thousand years. The Spanish visited some five centuries ago, and New Mexicans migrated to and settled in Utah for the half-millennium up to the present day, including some of my relatives who worked there seasonally as sheepherders.
In the sixteenth century, the Viceroy of New Spain claimed the great swath of land, including what is now the state of Utah, as part of the Kingdom of Spain’s La Nueva (Custodia de) Mexico. With Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, Utah as part of New Mexico was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Mexico, and remained so for a quarter of a century. The Mormon people came into Mexico’s Utah in 1847, and within three years—without their moving a step– they came to belong to a territory of the United States of America. Forty-six years later, in 1896, and sixteen years before New Mexico, Utah became the forty-fifth state of the Union.
With the appointment of John Charles Wester as the twelfth Archbishop of Santa Fe– succeeding retiring Archbishop James J. Sheehan–the connection between New Mexico and Utah becomes deeper and stronger. The episcopal motto of Archbishop Wester is “Abide in Christ.” Upon his arrival in NM, he will encounter, especially in the northern regions of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, a series of small independently owned adobe buildings called moradas. The Penitent Brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno uses them for their religious rites especially during Lent and Holy Week. Some believe the Spanish word morada refers to the color purple in deference to liturgical vestments worn during Lent. Not so. Its true meaning is ABODE–from the Latin verb morari: TO DWELL. In these final weeks of Eastertide, the daily liturgical readings from the Gospel of St. John are replete with references to the theme of “…abide in me…” (e.g., Jn. 15:9-11). To “abide in Christ” is the invitation and challenge of anyone who calls her/himself Christian/Catholic.
In his April interview on Vatican Radio, Bishop Wester acknowledged the deep roots —over four centuries– of the Catholic faith in New Mexico, and its present dynamism. “With forty seminarians, committed lay leadership, the great variety of important activities, the wonderful community of faith is very alive!”
Archbishop Wester is a good fit for Santa Fe. He knows Spanish, and relates well with a variety of ethnic and religious groups such as Filipinos and Vietnamese. His multicultural and interreligious talents include serving on a U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Ch’an/ZEN-Catholic Dialogue, as well as having chaired the Bishop’s Committee on Immigration from 2006 to 2007, and currently chairs the Committee on Communication.
He has been a consistent advocate of social justice and immigration reform. “Resolution to issues of documentation will be found only by respecting cultural diversity while advocating unity. This remains a challenge toward true integration.” In his Vatican Radio interview, the Bishop said, “The Church has a special role to advocate on behalf of immigrants. We are involved at every point: their origin, transit, and destination. The Church is able to counteract negative stereotypes, and can help put a human face on the issue and to highlight its moral and ethical dimensions.”
Bishop Wester’s experience has been broad, and his credentials are excellent. A fourth generation Californian, he was born in San Francisco in 1950. He went to high school seminary, and was ordained for the Archdiocese in the bicentennial year of 1976. First assigned to parish work and then to the work of Catholic formation: campus ministry, high school teacher and president, then Assistant Superintendent of Archdiocesan High Schools. In 1988, then Archbishop  of San Francisco and President of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop John Quinn appointed Msgr. Wester to be his priest-secretary.  Archbishop Quinn named him in 1993 to his first pastorate of a parish. Four years later, the succeeding Archbishop of San Francisco William Levada appointed Msgr. Wester to be the Vicar for Clergy. The following year in 1998, Pope John Paul II named Wester Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, and at the same time Archbishop Levada appointed him as Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General. In March 2007. the next Archbishop of San Francisco,  George Niederauer (former Bishop of Salt Lake),  installed Bishop Wester as Ordinary (Bishop in Charge) of the Diocese of Salt Lake that encompasses all of Utah.
This San Francisco native brought to Utah an abundance of human qualities that make him as well  a good choice for his new post in New Mexico. Priests of his former diocese of Salt Lake praised him.  Msgr. T. Fitzgerald said the Bishop is “…kind, compassionate, most generous…[and] open to every person” Fr. Martin Diaz described him as “a passionate shepherd, truly ecumenical, intelligent, and articulate.” Some lay people described him as relaxed, but with a track record of helping the poor and lifting up those in need.
His accomplishments as Bishop of Salt Lake Diocese bode well for his ministry as Archbishop of Santa Fe. He certified sixty-four lay Spanish- speaking ministers last year, and is responsible for the formation of seventeen Spanish speaking permanent deacons who are expected to be ordained within two years. He has addressed the growing number of multi-ethnics within his diocese by bringing in a greater number of multi-cultural clergy. Maria Cruz Gray, Director of Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese, states that Spanish-speaking Catholics populate 95% of diocesan missions! Bishop Wester has responded to the growing number of Hispanics in the Diocese not only with more Spanish or bilingual Masses, but–more importantly–with his “wonderful pastoral outreach and bridge-building between Anglo and Hispanic members of his flock.” His great love for the people is manifested in such things as his support for traditions and a formation program called Instituto Congar (named for progressive French theologian who in the mid-Twentieth Century wrote brilliantly on the role of the laity).
Now Pope Francis has called John Charles Werster to serve as the new Archbishop of Santa Fe. Skills yet to be sharpened for coming challenges include relating well with the unique cultural aspects of Native Americans and the proud Spanish heritage of native New Mexicans. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop-Elect John Wester projected a properly humble attitude for coming into his new Archdiocese. “I recognize their dynamism in the faith, and my first priority will be to LISTEN.” Father Javier Virgen, Vicar for Hispanic Affairs of Salt Lake Diocese, vouched for the new Archbishop’s “incredible capacity to listen,” and lauded his great compassion as well as disposition to always be with the people.

I sincerely hope those qualities will incline the new Archbishop of Santa Fe to encourage long-time efforts–since the early episcopate of +Robert Sanchez– to posthumously rehabilitate Padre Antonio José Martínez from ecclesiastical censures that I believe were unjustly imposed in 1856 and 1858.
Archbishop-Elect Wester, appointed as new Archbishop of Santa Fe at the brink of 65 years of age, will have a full decade before being obliged to offer his resignation to the Holy Father. May his assignment be a blessed and fruitful time during which our loving Lord will bless his new ministry. We invoke the Holy Spirit to illumine and strengthen him in all of its aspects. We pray that Blessed Mary–through the double invocation of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y La Inmaculada Concepción, both so dear to Padre Martínez–be with him “for the whole ride” to serve well the local church of Santa Fe. “So far, I have been on an emotional roller coaster, but will do my best,” he said during his late April interview with Vatican Radio.
You may Tweet congratulations to the new Archbishop-Elect of Santa Fe (@BishopWester ) or write to him in care of either his present or future address: Most Rev. John C. Wester – 27 C Street – Salt Lake City, Utah 84103/or at 4000 St Josephs Dr, NW – Albuquerque, NM 87120.

Mex -1830

Census map of 1830: Territory—together with most of Latin America—that the Viceroy of Spain in the sixteenth century claimed as New Spain. From 1821 until 1846, after Mexico’s independence from Spain, the Federal Republic of Mexico claimed these extensive territories. Through “Manifest Destiny” and by war ending with the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded the large swath of almost half its territory to the USA. The land includes all of Alta California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and the great state of Texas. It also includes the western half of Colorado, a piece of southwestern Wyoming, a sliver of southwestern Kansas, and the Panhandle of northwestern Oklahoma.

1840 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF PADRE MARTINEZ

INTRODUCTION
Cecil V. Romero, a relative of Padre Martínez, in 1928—ninety years after Padre Martínez published his autobiography on his own press (Los Méritos del Presbítero Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos)–translated it into English for the NM Historical Review. With an eye on that previous translation, Father Tom Steele, S.J. this shorter version of this autobiography from a copy of the original that Padre Martínez wrote in 1840, and presented to his ecclesiastical superiors in Durango.

On October 21, 2009, Father Steele–with help from Vicente Martinez, Robert Torrez and myself–finished the translation. Father Tom was pleased with my editing the biography into final form. It was intended to be the first part of a three-part scholarly work in English complemented with other key primary documents: the 1877 Biography of Padre Martínez by Santiago Valdez (for which I was principal agent), and the Padre’s Last Will and Testament (for which Vicente Martinez of Taos, closely related to the Padre, was principal agent). Padre Martínez edited his Will within a month before he died in July 1867.

Elena Nápoles Goldfeder, a Cuban American with a doctorate in Spanish literature, greatly helped in the translation of various works pertaining to the Cura de Taos, including the biography. Father Steele was to be editor of the project, but when his health began to fail, he asked his former student Robert Torrez–former historian for the state of NM–to continue in the role of editor.

The autobiography is incomplete on several accounts. Padre Martínez does not mention his legitimate wife who died in childbirth before he went to the seminary. Neither does it make reference to his housekeeper by whom he also had children. Since the autobiography was edited and completed by 1840, it necessarily does not deal with the Padre’s contentious relationship with his Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy who arrived in New Mexico in 1851, five years after it became part of the United States. However, the autobiography does clarify many aspects and details of the life of the Padre heretofore unknown or misunderstood.

In homage to Jesuit priest Father Thomas Steele, a superior scholar on things New Mexican, a mentor and collaborator, I publish this work on my website, The Taos Connection , on March 25, 2015, the feast of the Annunciation.

* * * * *

Padre Martinez of Taos: His Life and Times – SECTION ONE:

1840 AUTOBIOGRAPHY

ACCOUNT OF
The Literary, Ecclesiastical, and other Services in the Career of the Priest
Don Antonio Jose Martinez y Santistevan, Interim Curate of Taos in the Department of New Mexico

He states that he is a Mexican by nationality born in this Department of New Mexico, and in the parish of Santo Tomas de Abiquiú. The late Don Antonio Severino Martínez and Dona María del Carmen Santistevan, husband and wife in legitimate and unbroken matrimony, of good blood, also Mexicans, were his parents. He was born on January 17, 1793, and was baptized on the nineteenth of the same month, as shown in his baptismal certificate in the chancery office. In the attached book, composed of documents, this document [to be obtained] is marked (as Document #1) on a blank page in expectation of the certified record turning up. [004 – These enumerations in brackets refer to the page numbers in the original document or copy thereof.]
He is now in his forty-eighth year. On March 10, 1817 when he was in his twenty-fifth year, he began his studies in the Tridentine Seminary of Durango as a boarding student, beginning from the study of Latin grammar, until March 9, 1820. On that day, he was granted gratis a Royal Scholarship in preference to others (see Document #2). He enjoyed the benefice until January 1823 when, with his superiors’ permission, he left the school and returned to this Departamento and to the home of his parents. The total time of his studies in the college was five years, ten months, and a few days.
During his time, he studied Latin grammar and Spanish rhetoric, and in these subjects he held first place among all the rest of his fellow students. (See Document #3) In compliance of the request of Bishop Castañiza, he lodged with him. A particular certificate of equal value to First Place in (Spanish) Rhetoric, since that served as the foundation for advancement of someone who had studied all grammar courses, would have been a certificate for the study and mastery of Latin grammar. However, that remained in the file of one of his petitions for Holy Orders at the diocesan office. He studied philosophy [005] beginning with four questions about Certitude, Logic, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Reality from its author the Abbe [Francois] Para [du Phanjas]. Father Altieri’s books covered Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and General Physics. At the end of the course, he was given the Supralocus, recognition of first place above all of his fellow students (as attested by Document #4).
In the manual of Scholastic Theology of His Eminence Cardinal Gotti which he studied for only two years, he presented more options than requirements demanded of him. All in all, he received the very highest grade with a superior note of distinction (As shown by Documents ##5 and 6). [006]
Finally, in the College, he studied the whole manual of Moral Theology, fourth edition, by the author Francisco Larraga, with examples by Grosin; he also studied The Sacred Ceremonies by the rubricist Galindo, supplementing his understanding by reading other authors. No professor explained these last two subjects because he studied them privately while taking the regular scholastic course. The first time around when he was a student in Durango, he earned certificates of the highest standing from the examinations that he underwent; according to the original certificates given him, he passed the courses for the exercise of the ministry with complete comprehension. Besides completing his studies and making a very detailed and thorough review of everything that he completed in school, he finally completed–at the house of his parents that was also his own–the author Gotti’s Scholastic Theology from his forty treatises in its three tomes and Murillo Velarde’s Scholastic-Dogmatic Theology from its hundreds of treatises contained in the ponderous tomes.
Almost as soon as he had begun college, in preference to any other of his classmates, he was made responsible for keeping [014] the classrooms in order, and he also took turns teaching in his respective classes. In 1819, the Rector placed him in charge of the expenses for kitchen and costs for repair of schoolrooms. He took care of the brickwork and the whitewashing, mending the stairs and fixing the doors, and he was also responsible for the younger boys’ clothing, keeping them in order and seeing that they attended the ceremonies at the Cathedral. In regards to housekeeping, he held the keys to the pantry and avoided abuses; he secured the back or side gate when the shepherd took the sheep out each dawn and brought them back each evening.
In the year 1821, he took care of all his schoolmates in the college and became the sub-minister. He discharged this duty to the complete satisfaction of his superiors, along with the others noted above until January 1823. He then gathered these certificates and various others, and left the college. (As shown in Document #6 mentioned above) [015] Regarding the evidence of Document #7, in 1822 he had the choice of saying the weekday Masses [taking turns with] with the priest-professors in the College, or of being the Chaplain to the College with the faculty [license/permission] of hearing Confessions on Saturdays for those who had to obey that precept and receive Communion. He also participated in the care of the Sagrario of the Parish, but unfortunately, he failed to obtain a certificate.
The Most Reverend Bishop, His Excellency Don Juan Francisco de Castaniza ordained him all at once to [the four] minor orders on March 16, 1821, and to the Subdiaconate the following day. The Bishop ordained him to the Diaconate on December 22, 1821, and later to the Priesthood on February 10, 1822. (Document #10) All these ordinations followed proper examinations and approval of his abilities, and with dispensations from [keeping] the required intervals. His First Sung Mass was on February 19, 1822. At the [other] ordinations that followed [almost four months later] on June 1, 1822, he received for the first time very comprehensive faculties for preaching and hearing Confessions. [016]. In addition to required theological courses–all of Moral Theology and Liturgy [mostly rubrics], he studied additional optional courses in theology, as they appear in the licentiate diplomas and the abovementioned documents. His faculties were later expanded to authorize his celebrating two Masses on feast days, absolving from reserved sins, marrying and con-validating marriages intra confessionem, giving blessings in which Holy Oil is not used, and applying a plenary indulgence to dying persons. All [the faculties–that the Bishop or the legislative Council—wills] were granted for whatsoever period. The first time this authority [of extended faculties] was given to him was on January 18, 1826, when it came about by recommendation of the venerable Ecclesiastical Council that wrote him as follows: “Because of the great praise and recognition you deserve, the Venerable Council instructs me that I should declare […illegible, but something like this makes sense: ‘your merits in writing’ (?)], and thus they appear in Document #8. In the same manner, the faculties [licenses] obtained from the present Bishop the Most Reverend Don Jose Antonio Laureano de Zubiria, during his Holy Visitation of July 6, 1833, have continued to be completely valid.” [017]
He left college one year short of finishing his course in Scholastic Theology because he fell sick of an ailment that impeded his breathing. When he had recovered from it at his parents’ home, he asked for time to exercise his ministry. He was granted this as shown in Document #9. Concerning his services in this period, he said Mass, preached, heard Confessions, and attended to the sick while he being very faithful and prompt in charity as need and situation required. His sound conduct in religion and among the town’s society appears in Documents ##10 and 11 that originate from the Town Council of Taos. Document #12 comes from the Alcalde of Tomé, where he helped in priestly ministry from November 24, 1823 to March 20, 1824 (AHAD 253f088). He had the approval of the [018] Chancellor of the Diocese, as seen in Document #13, since he himself had especially recommended his taking that post.
In 1826, he took over the administration of Santo Tomas de Abiquiú parish, as is attested in Document #14. He most carefully served the parish as regards the administration of the Holy Sacraments, preaching on the Gospel on feast days, conducting himself among the faithful of the parish and among the authorities with the greatest harmony, affection, and proper manners—aiding the poor with alms, and not burdening the poor with the aranceles if he found that he could get along without them. He continued until September of that year [1826] when he resigned from that parish as shown by Document #15. His resignation [from Abiquiú] came about because he was at that time [also] serving the parish of Taos that Vicar [Fernandez San Vicente], mentioned above, had put into his care (by virtue of Document #16) from July 23, 1826 to the present [1840]. Vicar Fernandez San Vicente visited the parishes in the year 1826 [019], as well as the chapels of Taos and Abiquiú during August. In August 1830 [four years later], Vicar Don Juan Rafael Rascon visited the [Pueblo] Parish and the Chapel of [Fernando de] Taos. In July 1833, the present Bishop, the Most Reverend Don José Antonio Laureano de Zubiría, visited the same parish and its chapels. He approved of his fulfillment of ministry in all the matrimonial diligencias [Pre-Marriage Investigations], and of the decisions copied into the entries of all the (parish) books— all comparing quite favorably with the fulfillment of ministry by his predecessors, and even comparing with other parishes that he had visited. In checking entries in those books, each (reverend) visitor specifically stated in very particular terms that he [the parish visitor] congratulated him [Padre Martinez] and encouraged him to continue in the same manner, as attested by Document #17, a certification of the entries on the occasion of a Holy Visitation as stated above. Together with the Parish of Taos, he has also managed the mission of San Lorenzo de Picuris first by order of Vicar Don Juan Rafael Rascón from March 1829 to April 1831. Then he resigned for [020] adequate cause, and the resignation was accepted as stated in Document #18. He managed the mission of San Lorenzo de Picuris for a second time from November, or more precisely from October 25 1833, until the present. He has held all of these duties as Acting Pastor by order of the present Bishop as indicated in Document #19, and has fulfilled all of them as best he could. He learned that being unable to attend the competition [in order to be considered for an appointment as pastor] did not lower his reputation insofar as the secretary of the Church Council [021] makes clear as shown on this point by Document #20.
He has served in the above-mentioned times and places, and has faithfully performed the duties of his ministry. He has several times led Holy Week Stations [of the Cross] in Taos and Santa Fe, has said Mass on two feast days and even preached in both, but always [at least] in one. He says Mass at times in the church of Abiquiú or the church of Picuris, and then in the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Taos as much as seven leagues [eighteen miles] distant. Documents where he has served in other places have proved what his duties were, as also do Documents ##21, 22, and 23. The last two documents mention that his conduct was always upright in religious matters and in polite society. He has donated to the church, and distributed seed annually to needy persons. [022]
He has been, and still is, delegated as the minister of the Tertiaries of Saint Francis of the Order of Penance [Penitentes] among the devout parishioners of Taos, as attested by Document #24 of the Father Custodian.
From 1833 to the present, he has had the delegation of administering Confirmation in this parish [of Taos] and in the mission of Picuris, a faculty he has exercised as shown by the certified entries in the proper parish register, and Document #25 states his authority of confirming and functioning as the Pastor of Taos.
In politics, he has been elected first to the office of Territorial Deputy, a post that he discharged in the Capital of Santa Fe during 1830 and 1831, and [023] he has attended the Departmental [legislative] Council as Deputy whenever it met up until the present, contributing toward the expense of paying for a secretary. He has also contributed a certain amount of money to the services of the state that the Honorable Deputy Vicar Don Juan Felipe Ortiz assigned to him for travel expenses, and he has contributed another equal amount for the Texan emergencies as shown in Documents #26 and #27 given him by the same Vicar Ortiz.
He contributed for the relief of the troops used in quelling public disorder in this Departamento last year as Document #28 attests. Lieutenant Don José Silva gave him a receipt, and there were small amounts he refrains from mentioning. During the disorderly uprisings of last year [1836?] and even as this statement is being written [1837–Padre Martinez seems to be quoting from his original autobiography written in 1837, but without updating this part for the shorter revision of 1840], he has been persecuted because of the advice, persuasion, and inducement by which he expressed his opinion about leading the wayward back along the right path. However, he finally convinced them to listen to him, settling the disturbance, and to a greater [024] or less degree preventing various impending problems from deteriorating from bad to worse. He was in Santa Fe, the capital, when the conspiracy formed in the Villa de la Cañada [Chimayó] in January of this year [1837] when the war broke out at the pass of Pojoaque … He offered to go as a [military] chaplain, and His Excellency the Governor Don Manuel Armijo accepted. He then went with his Excellency [Armijo] and his troops, served, and presented himself as a brave and charitable soul, confessing the wounded and others who died during that episode. He discharged his duties with the bullets whistling close over his head, surrounded by the other horrible machines of war, and once being only five yards away from such place where he had just heard a wounded man’s confession. The campaign was conducted with greater precaution, and it withstood the mob of rebels largely due to his efforts, and to the timely news that he sent His Excellency the Governor. The expedition was well planned and well timed, and it avoided many of the rebels. After that uprising, he continued this service as military chaplain, quelling other rebellions that threatened, continuing even until very recent days. His first communications were some letters [025] of exhortation he left after going to Santa Fe, directing a supply of weapons to Taos to comply with the order, and thus he brought order out of disorder. Because of that move by which he immediately sent the news of the victory of the national forces, the rebels did not leave Taos. Quiet ensued, as verified by Document #29 of Don Juan Antonio Aragon, the Alcalde of Taos, and by Documents ##30 and 31, letters from His Excellency, the abovementioned Governor that verified other points.
After some young men inquired, he mentioned to the visiting Bishop [1833] their desire to study for the priesthood. After the Bishop heard his request, he granted his permission to immerse the young men in Latin grammar and everything else he could provide them, and under this permission, the young men were put under his direction.
He began on July 15, 1833: three joined in November of the same year, and another three more joined a year later in November 1834. All of them started from the beginning of grammar (the declension of nouns), and they didn’t even have books. The result was that by August 1836, they were ready to go to Durango, and so they did because they had already learned Latin grammar and moral theology. Of those approved, six eventually received Holy Orders. The names of those three who left Taos for Durango in early 1836, and were ordained in 1839 are the following: Don Juan de Jesus Trujillo, Don Eulogio Valdes, and Don Mariano de Jesus Lucero, all of them in charge of administering Holy Sacraments in the Departamento of New Mexico. Of the rest, five came to this ecclesiastical capital of Durango at the end of 1836 with grammar studies and some moral theology. Their names are Don Tomas Abeyta, don Jose de Jesus Lujan, don Jose Manuel Gallegos, and don Eusebio Barela. Don Antonio de Jesus Salazar received minor orders because illness prevented him from constant study, and once his health was restored, he studied Moral Theology that year under the same supervision and now has presented himself to receive Holy Orders. In regards to the other two, the last to enter the program, he instructed them very well for two years, [but they did not continue.] He had instructed them in Latin Grammar and parts of Philosophy, Real Metaphysics, Arithmetic, Geometry, and General Physics. One of the pupils died of a fever. The other, don José de la Cruz Vigil, studied some Moral Theology, and on scholarship entered the College at the time with the goal of continuing his studies in Moral Theology in the hopes of receiving Holy Orders and thus become a priest.
Besides all the men mentioned above, he has modified the curriculum of Latin Grammar from two years to three, and then admitted other young men, although not all of them started at the beginning. He took their admission without charge, both the first group and the second, and instead provided them with free notebooks taken from those who already had those subjects. He kept two orphans in his house who had no means of support, one of them coming from the first group and the other from the second.
He paid in total all the conciliar pensions for the Curato. In his residence, he hosted the Procurator of the Departamento who helped verify the payments to the Rector of the College. At the present time of this report, he has the honor of not having been linked to interdicts or any such documents that questioned his reputation either of church or politics, but he has constantly affirmed his right and his good name in both spheres.

The narrative given here presents the brief services done by the subject of this account, and he knows and affirms its merits according to the judgment of the Bishop and of his other superiors after reading the quoted documents that have been added to his file.

Ciudad Victoria de Durango, 9 November 1840.
Antonio Jose Martinez.

I certify that the preceding narrative agreed with the documents that the presenter has provided to confirm it, and I have the original in my presence.

Durango, 3 December 1840.
Narciso Gandarilla
Secretary.

RELUCTANT DAWN: A Padre Martinez Biography

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! You may download at no cost an Adobe PDF copy of my monograph RELUCTANT DAWN, A History of Padre Martinez, Cura de Taos at this link:
https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/dd19c44c-b5c5-4edd-8669-6a60e4eb4b23

If you wish to send me a free-will offering for your online ADOBE copy, you are welcome to do so at this address where I will be until the end of May: Rev. Juan Romero c/o St. Joseph Church – PO BOX 1709 – Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.

If you wish to have an autographed hard copy of the 2006 edition of book, please send to the above address your name and address together with a money order in the amount of eighteen dollars ($18) per book. Indicate to whom you wish the book(s) to be dedicated.

You may also order RELUCTANT DAWN through Amazon at this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Dawn-History-Antonio-Martinez/dp/1424308100

RELUCANT DAWN is based on primary documents,in particular on the 1877 unpublished manuscript-Biography of Padre Martínez by Santiago Valdez, a close relative of the Padre. Valdez wrote it in Spanish, and Benjamin Read M. Read translated it into 19th century English. His younger brother Larkin Read, married to a relative of the Padre, beautifully copied the manuscript housed in the Ritch Collection at the Huntington Library near Los Angeles.

The Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio (now called the Mexican American Catholic College) first published my monograph in 1976. I published a second edition in 2006 on the occasion of the unveiling of the Padre Martínez bronze memorial at the Taos Plaza entitled “LA HONRA DE SU PAIS/The Honor of His Homeland”for the epitaph on his tombstone. The phrase was coined by his peers in the Territorial Legislature on the occasion of the Padre’s death in 1867.

I am pleased to make the text available, through this website dedicated to Padre Martínez, to anyone interested in the history and culture of New Mexico, especially to those with an interest in ecclesiastical history.

Fr. Juan Romero
Taos native, and
Priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

RELUCTANT DAWN

Cura de Taos,  La Honra de Su País/ The Honor of His Homeland
Cura de Taos,
La Honra de Su País/
The Honor of His Homeland
The unveiling of the more than life-sized bronze memorial of Padre Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos took place in the Taos Plaza on July 16, 2006. The title of the memorial, LA HONRA DE SU PAIS/THE HONOR OF HIS HOMELAND was taken from the epitaph on his tombstone coined by the Padre’s peers in the Territorial Legislature of the occasion of his death in 1867.
Senator Carlos Cisneros helped obtain public funding from the State of New Mexico Public Arts Program for the sculpture by Huberto Maestas of San Luis, Colorado. Father Larry Brito, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, blessed the image, and Mr. Edmundo Vasquez—a Presbyterian relative of the Padre—led a prayer of dedication. A delegation of La Cofradía de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Penitentes) was present. Attorney Antonio José Martínez, a family member of the famous Padre, spoke eloquently on the occasion.

Portrait of Padre Martínez

AJM-Bissel.Portrait_Text

PadreMartinez-Bissell.bestPadreMartinez-Bissell.best  Cynthia Bissell, a Taos artist, painted this portrait of Padre Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos in 1974. We met on Ledoux Street in Taos between the Harwood Foundation and the studio of R. C. Gorman where Cynthia was on a short roster of artists exhibiting work there since 1969. My grandfather’s house was across the Harwood Library where I was doing research for my monograph Reluctant Dawn,

The portrait of Padre Martínez, Cynthia explained to me, was done on plywood in the style of the retablos at the historic adobe church of San José de Las Trampas in northern New Mexico, one of her favorite places. She sent me the portrait as a gift when I was in San Antonio working with the PADRES organization. Cynthia moved to Arizona, and is now deceased.

Vicente M. Martínez, a close relative of the Padre, took a color photo of the portrait. When the Mexican American Cultural Center published Reluctant Dawn in 1976, the photo was reproduced in black-and-white. However, the portrait was published in color for the second edition of Reluctant Dawn published by The Taos Connection in 2006 on occasion of the instatllation and unveiling of the Padre Martínez Memorial in The Taos Plaza, La Honra de Su País/The Honor of His Homeland.

For almost three years, while I was Executive Director of PADRES, the national organization of Hispanic priests, the portrait hung on the wall of the PADRES headquarters on Ashby Street across from MACC. After I left, my successor lend it to Archbishop Sanchez of Santa Fe who kept it in his residence until he retired in 1993. Father Albert Gallegos of Belen, NM took possesion of it, but the portrait was lost after Father Albert’s death.

On the occasion of my Golden Jublilee as a priest in the spring of 2014, while giving a presentation on the Cura de Taos at the parish church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the portrait resurfaced. The Archdiocese had it in storage, and returned it to “its proper home” at the church in care of its current pastor Rev. Clement Nigel. Padre Martínez had served as pastor of the parish from from 1826 until 1858. As rightful owner of the portrait, I took possession of it, and then immediately inscribed my name and date on the back in testimony of my gifting the portrait to the parish for posterity.

FIFTY YEARS A PRIEST – Fr. Juan Romero




[It is a rare exception that I write about myself on this blog dedicated to Padre A.J. Martínez, but the occasion of my Golden Jubilee makes it “worth it.” – JR]

  “It’s worth it!” says Fr. Juan
Romero, ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles fifty years ago on
April 30, 1964.  A decade ago, he retired from
administration, and moved to the Coachella Valley, part of the vast San
Bernardino-Riverside Diocese, where he has been serving as a
“supply-priest” at various parishes. 
On Saturday May 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm, Father Romero celebrated a fifty-year
anniversary Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Indio where he spent a
year as a “priest-minister.” 
He will celebrate another anniversary Mass on June 21 at the church of
his baptism, the oft-photographed church of St Francis in Ranchos de Taos in
northern New Mexico.

  “The Golden
Jubilee celebration is a special time to give and praise and thanks to God, and
I do!  As long as the Lord gives me life
and breath, I intend to serve God and His people,” stated the jubilarian.  Friends of Father Juan Romero are arranging
an Alaskan Cruise Inside Passage
from August 29 to September 5. 
“It’s a great time and place to get out of the Valley’s summer
heat.  Welcome aboard!” Romero
invited.  For information on the
Celebrity Solstice Cruise that leaves from Seattle, call (800) 772-0847 and ask
for Father Juan’s Desk.

  Father Romero
recalls the last half-century with some nostalgia, great joy, and a lot of
gratitude.  He has had his share of
excitement and even drama as a priest: walking picket lines with farm workers
and going to jail with them in civil disobedience of unjust injunctions;
marching in protest against the Vietnam War in which a so many were killed, especially
the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans; and participating in
broad-based community organizations such as UNO, United Neighborhoods Organization
in East Los Angeles and other places.  “It
was fun to see regular parishioners from different parishes and Protestant
congregations hold politicians accountable for specific benefits to the broader
community,” he stated. “However, the
most important thing I do and have done is to celebrate Mass, baptize, anoint
the sick, hear confessions and give absolution.

  For four decades, he
served in a variety of parishes in the far-flung Archdiocese of Los
Angeles—from Santa Barbara to La Habra in north Orange County when it still
belonged to the L.A. Archdiocese.  He was
assigned as pastor to three different parishes throughout the Archdiocese: in
La Puente (now called Valinda), Santa Monica-Venice, and East Los Angeles where
he served three different times.

  Temporarily released
from assignment in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he twice worked in
specialized Hispanic ministry on the national level. In the mid- ’70s, Father Romero
worked four years out of San Antonio, Texas as executive director of the PADRES
organization.  For one intensive year in 1984-85,
he worked out of Washington, D.C. on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Bishops’
Spanish Speaking Secretariat as the national coordinator of the Tercer Encuentro, “a fascinating
challenge!”Romero described the job.   Meetings within parishes, dioceses, and large regions
composed of groupings of states in a geographical area took place over a period
of a few years with the purpose of producing a national pastoral plan for the country’s Spanish speaking.  “My job was to wrap up the final
phase of the consultation process among Latino Catholics within the United
States, and to set up the logistics for the culminating event of the Tercer Encuentro Hispano de Pastoral at
Catholic University in August 1985. 

  Father Romero remembers
with nostalgia and gratitude the special relationship he enjoyed with Cesar
Chavez and Dolores Huerta. 
 In November 1972 during the “No on 22
Campaign,” when his family home was unoccupied, Cesar lived in the house for a
month. “He and his staff of about eight people took the place over while Cesar’s
two German shepherd guard-dogs, Boycott and Huelga, commandered the back
yard,” Romero recalled. 

  In April 1973,
Father Romero was part of an inter-religious delegation of clergy and laity who
took a straw poll among workers in the Coachella Valley to ascertain which
union they would prefer to join: the Teamsters or the United Farmworkers. 
“Hands down, it was the UFW,” affirms Romero.  This was during
his PADRES years, and by the late summer that year, Romero spent almost two
weeks “in prayer and fasting” in the Fresno County Jail.  He was in the good company of hundreds of
farmworkers, clergy, religious and lay supporters of farmworkers including
Dorothy Day, the storied apostle of the poor.  “When Chavez died
twenty-one years ago (April 23), I was asked to be in charge of the logistics
for the funeral Mass, and was pleased to do so. 
My own Archbishop and schoolmate, Cardinal Roger Mahony, gave the
homily.”

  Research and writing
about the life and legacy of Padre Antonio José, Cura de Taos (1793-1867), has
been the passionate hobby of Fr. Romero. 
He maintains a blog on the Padre, <thetaosconnecion.com>, has
written a biography on the priest, Reluctant
Dawn
, and was the principal catalyst for having the state of New Mexico in
2006 fund and place in the Taos Plaza a larger than life-sized bronze memorial
of the Padre.

  Retired Air Force
Major Tobias Romero, Father Juan’s oldest brother in the seminary for five
years before going into the Air Force, was unable to make the celebration in
Indio because of ill health.  His older
brother Father Gilbert, Ph. D. (from Princeton, Old Testament) ordained in
1961, accompanied Fr. Juan, and gave him a special blessing at the end of the
Anniversary Mass.  Their father J. Tobias
Romero was ordained a Claretian priest in 1975. 
His last employment, before going into the seminary a year after his
wife died in 1969, was as an accountant for CBS. Father Tobias Romero, the
elder, served in ministry for almost twenty-two years before his death in 1996.

  Father Juan Romero
summed up his half-a-century as a priest:

With the prayerful support of family, my priest-support
group and close friends, I have been able to negotiate life’s road with all its
twists and turns, curves and hills with their downs and ups.  There have been plenty of the former, but even
more of the latter.  My life as a priest has
definitely been worth it, a true blessing of the Lord in His service and that
of His people!

 

Padre Antonio José Martínez