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Parishioners Rebury Ancestors – Tortuga Photo Workshops

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Parishioners Rebury Ancestors

February 21st, 2013

burial for the remains of bones found eight years ago

burial for the remains of bones found eight years ago

burial for the remains of bones found eight years ago

burial for the remains of bones found eight years ago

About 20 Alameda church parishioners braved the chill of winter Tuesday, taking part in a solemn procession led by a horse-drawn wagon carrying the remains of their ancestors bound for their final resting place.   “Even though it was very windy and very cold, and the snow had just started to come down, some of the (people) decided to walk with the wagon all the way to the camposanto,” said Deacon Leonard Martinez of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Alameda.The night before, between 250 and 300 people attended a rosary for the repose of the souls of the ancestors of Alameda, with a like number celebrating Mass Tuesday morning at the church. That was followed by the procession, highlighted by the reburial of bones about a mile away at San Carlos Camposanto, or cemetery, off Alameda and Edith NW.  The ceremony marked the centennial celebration of the historic parish church, which was rebuilt in 1913 after a catastrophic flood washed away the parish’s third church. The original church was built on the banks of the Rio Grande following the establishment of Alameda in the early 1700s.  The remains of at least 123 parishioners were reburied during graveside services led by parish priest, the Rev. Juan Mendoza, and Bishop Ignacio Tafoya, giving the blessing of the graves. The services also included ancient prayers and the singing of alabados, or sacred songs, collected and maintained by members of the Penitente Brotherhood, a lay confraternity active in New Mexico since the Spanish Colonial period.   “I know that the relatives of these ancestors were very happy and relieved that at last the remains of their ancestors had been given a proper burial and were now at final rest,” Martinez said.  The remains were uncovered around 2003 by a work crew digging a trench for a new sewer line, which accidentally cut through a cemetery that surrounded the church.   University of New Mexico archeologists excavated and collected the remains for study, and recently returned the remains back to the community.  “For all Catholics, the camposanto is a sacred ground where the dead can be buried where they were born and raised,” Martinez said. “It’s where their souls can be closer to their loved ones.”

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