I had the pleasure of meeting George Anaya the other day and he was excited to tell me about his relation to the Apodaca Hill area of Santa Fe (which is located on top of canyon road on the cities east side up by Cristo Rey Church) and my newest discovery, the Cristo Rey Cemetery, which is a stones throw up the hill from the church.
Vince (my partner in the Santa Fe Stories Project) and I made our trek up to Apodaca Hill to meet with George Anaya and his brother Gilbert at the home they grew up in during the 40’s. The Anaya brothers told us of the rich family history and how the area of Apodaca Hill received its name and their families donation of property to the church for the construction of the peoples church…Cristo Rey. George took us to to the side of the church to the only two grave sites next to the church. One of his grandfather and the other of Monsignor Patrick Smith, the churches 1st priest. Yes, this is the name of the park on upper Canyon road and Alameda.
On our journey George took us up towards the top of Apodaca Hill and showed us a cemetery that has been desecrated by the church. We found about 7 graves in a row and a few that were not in synch with the row. Most of the graves are form the 20th century and a few from the tail ends of the 19th century and I have to say, the graves in pretty good shape. The Cristo Rey Cemetery is located south of Cristo Rey Church towards the top of Apodaca Hill.
Having being blown away by the experience and not so much about the cemetery (as my family has a family plot on family property up in northern New Mexico) but blown as to it once being a church owned burial ground and for it to be desecrated always makes me wonder about the church.
Again, I am extremely honored to meet George and grateful for sharing his family and their history and what life was like back in the 40’s till now!
Here are a few picture for now, the rest will be on the Santa Fe Stories Project.
God Bless you gentlemen.