The Blessing Way

Public invited to All Saints, Day of the Dead event at Martinez Hacienda


All are cordially invited to an anticipatory observance of All Saints' and All Souls Day (Día de Todos los Santos and Día de Todos los Fieles Difuntos), El Día de Los Muertos, on Sunday (Oct. 29), 2 p.m., at the Hacienda de los Martinez. The venue is located at 708 Hacienda Road, off Lower Ranchitos Road.

The ceremonies will include a traditional Taos community blessing of the hacienda ofrenda ("offering") memorial in the historic Capilla ("Chapel") Room.

There will be traditional prayer and song for all the saints and for all the departed souls, with those present encouraged to add remembrances to the ofrenda and their own thoughts and prayers.

The word "santo" could be used to refer to saints or to religious art and figures depicting saints.

The blessing of the ofrenda will be followed by an in-depth talk about the role, meaning and relevance of the saints in past and present times of the Taos Valley and beyond, including La Conquistadora, or Lady of Peace; santos in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt and in the 1847 "Taos Uprising" in the time of Padre Antonio José Martínez, when the Taos Pueblo church was destroyed; as well as their presence in churches, chapels, family homes and public institutions.

The talk will address certain saints in particular, including Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazaréno, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, San Juan Nepomuceno, La Doña Sebastiana and La Carreta de Muerte, San Isidro Labradór, San Rafael Arcángel and Santo Niño de Atocha. These are some of the santos owned by the Martinez Hacienda.

It is believed that these santos are holy works that convey high spiritual inspiration and true significance; they are not just quaint or strange objects for empty curiosity of those who may not understand them.

The santos are considered to represent a divine characteristic in humans through the Holy Spirit that connects the living and the dead in the "communion of saints," as also exemplified in the conjoined All Saints' Day and All Souls Day feast celebrations.

People love these santos and their crafted representation. They are seen as our brothers and sisters, and the people thank God for their existence. They are invoked to intercede with the divine on humanity's behalf, that the blessings and grace of the Most High might be obtained.

People pray for the intercession of the saints because each one is a testimony of the love of the Most High for humanity. The "communion of the saints" serves to intensify our own mutual charity for our greater good. The people seek from the example of the saints a good and right way to live. People seek the saints' company and their help and intercession.

A question-and-answer and discussion period will follow, as well as a concluding oración (prayer).

Refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to all.

For more information, call the Hacienda de los Martinez at (575) 758-1000 or Fernández at (575) 758-7608.

Note: The santos talk will be given by Davíd Fernández de Taos, who in the early 1970s was commissioned by the Museum of New Mexico to inventory and catalog the santos in New Mexico and composed the dedication prayer for the installation of the Larry Frank Tesoros de Devoción Santos collection at the Santa Fe Palace of the Governors in 2008. He is a board of directors member of Taos Historic Museums and of the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area Center.