Pope Clement XI was sitting in Vatican City collecting ancient Syriac texts for his Apostolic Library.
Queen Anne was on the throne of England ruling her American colony from afar.
Alburquerque was the third Spanish city established in the Provincia de Nuevo México.
The history of San Filipe de Neriwas to become filled with water. (Read on.)
Located in what is now Albuquerque (no “r” after the first “u”), in today’s Old Town, the city’s original church was constructed in 1706 – without paying attention to Scripture. Matthew 7:26 warns us that we should not construct our homes on sand.
Unfortunately, Fray Manuel Moreno, a Franciscan priest, and his flock of about 100 settlers built their first church out of porous adobe bricks and not enough water repellant. Though, the weatherman said that is never rains much in Provincia de Nuevo México, so “keep adobe dry” was not on anybody’s to-do list.
Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez founded the city of Alburquerque and named his city after the Viceroy of New Spain. He also named the new adobe church San Francisco Xavier.
However, the Duke of Alburquerque recognized who signed his paycheck (and royal protocol for naming churches had not been followed, so heads really could roll), and he renamed the church San Felipe de Neri after Spain’s King Philip.
And adobe? Well adobe “melts” when wet.
I’m no architect or Biblical scholar. But maybe Moreno and his flock took Matthew too literally and interpreted the proverb as “on” sand and did not permit themselves to consider “of” sand.
In 1792, the original church collapsed. A long spell of heavy rain had softened the adobe. The church was in ruin.
Relocating across the Plaza to what at the time was the center of this important Spanish outpost, the cross shaped structure we see today was begun in 1793. San Felipe de Neri is the oldest Catholic parish in Albuquerque.
Different philosophies of Franciscans (1706–1821) and Jesuits (1867–1966) and congregational expectations contributed to a potpourri of architectural styles. The traditional Southwestern-five-foot-thick adobe walls have grown upward to meet the glory of God.
In 1861, the European Gothic style spires were added. They are atypical to other early Spanish mission adobe churches in the Southwest. The assumption is that local friars and priests wanted to emulate the great cathedrals of Europe.
But, the “pourri” in “potpourri” is translated as “rotten”. Though I appreciate pressed tin ceilings and anaglypta wallpaper, (IMHO) the tin ceiling added in 1916 fits the “pourri” definition. But it’s history. So I guess we can ask, “Who was their decorator?”
Today, with its blue-sky scraping spires, San Felipe de Neri Parish serves as a guidepost for the 870,000 residents and tourists who navigate and congregate in the Albuquerque metro area.
The church’s Old Town Plaza location makes it a convenient place to start your exploration of Old and New Albuquerque.
Beginning your culture and history exploration, the Parish museum can be visited from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm. Religious items, as well as, souvenirs can be purchased.
Many not far from the Plaza, over 15 museums covering nuclear science (Los Alamos is 91 miles away), traditional and contemporary art, and holocaust issues including treatment of Native Americans should pique your interest. Other museums investigate African American culture, natural history, and Hispanic culture. Or take a 20 minute ride to Petroglyph National Monument on the outskirts of Albuquerque and your American history lesson goes back 700 years. For amusement, just off the Plaza you will even find a Rattlesnake Museum.
For tourists, business travelers, wedding participants or conventioneers, if your plans include time in Albuquerque, I recommend the Heritage Hotels and Resorts’ “Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town.” It’s a smart hotel, with a Southwest flair. The exterior on the hotel’s garden-side has balconies that lend a sense of Maya pyramids. The gardens and swimming pool are relaxing places for hanging-out.
Evening entertainment is available at the hotel’s restored, private home built in 1783, Casa Esencia. Located at the edge of the hotel property, Casa Esencia is a place to be seen on Friday nights (dress code and cover charge). “Casa Esencia is reinventing Albuquerque events with unparalleled service in a glamorous hacienda setting.”
Within the hotel you can party in the sophisticated and QBar. “A sophisticated posh ultra-lounge dressed with lush furnishings and beautiful clientele creates this perfect social venue.” You’ll feel special and important as you choose your favorite room: the Wine Room, the Billards Room, the Piano Lounge, and the Gallery Lounge.
Both venues have several rooms providing different themes or atmospheres, and live entertainment is frequently scheduled.
And the Hotel Albuquerque is only a 10 minute walk to Old Town Plaza with its restaurants, art galleries and shops, and several of the outstanding museums.