On Stands Now
June 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Faith And Culture Are One And The Same In Northern New Mexico

Growing up, I remember my grandparents were devout Catholics, but their faith was especially present during the Lenten season. On Good Friday, we would spend the day praying, in anticipation for the death and crucifixion of our Lord. We would attend church to meet the peregrinos who journeyed to the church from Costilla and pray with them. Oftentimes, we would fast as a penance for our sins and the sins of the world.

Fast forward to a time when the memories of our experiences in the church are all I have left, I cling sincerely to the one thing my grandparents left me: the faith. I remember before my grandfather passed away, he asked my grandma if she thought I’d ever leave the faith. At the time, I was in my mid-20s and not attending mass regularly. I remember sitting near their room, overhearing their conversation. She told him, “No. I think she will always come back because this is the gift we gave her.”

When I think of my identity as a norteña and a Questeña, I cannot remember a time in my life where God was not at the center. Being Hispanic in my experience has been synonymous with being a Christian believer who follows Christ. I’ve done several 20+ mile pilgrimages in my life, and through those experiences, you see and truly feel the presence of Christ in your life but also, in the lives of fellow walkers who are walking through blisters, body aches, and illnesses as a penance, uniting their suffering with Christ and overcoming what would be impossible with the help and devotion to Christ.

This Lenten season may have been a season of suffering, pain, or renewal for you. As we saw in the bible, on Easter morning, several women that were close to Jesus go to the tomb and find the stone rolled away and an angel who announces, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen” (Matthew 28:5-6). This shows there is hope after the pain, darkness and anguish.

Our faith, left by our ancestors and beloved family members who have passed on is a gift, to help us remember we are loved. Don’t be afraid to rediscover and nourish the seeds planted by those who left us our culture and our faith.