Franciscan priests had been a presence in the Jemez Valley for 300 years when Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion) Catholic Church was established in Jemez Springs in 1906. Led by the Otero and Abousleman families, the people of the Village built the church. At that time, it was part of the mission system established by the Franciscans at Jemez Pueblo, which also served the little churches at San Ysidro, Ponderosa and Cañon.
According to a story in the 2005 Fiesta bulletin,
[W]en the church was completed on August 15, a Franciscan priest from Jemez Pueblo rode horseback into the Village to sing vespers, Indian dances were held, food was piled high on tables for visitors and a grand baile (dance) took place that night. So began the Fiesta tradition!
Go to Church Clippings to see copies of Fiesta bulletins from 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 2005.
In 1947, the church became part of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and two priests came to Jemez Springs: Rev. Fitzgerald Fitzgerald and Rev. Louis P. Barcelo. The latter was quoted as saying that the “little church was sadly in need of funds to make needed improvements and repairs.”
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