San Miguel de Socorro
San Miguel de Socorro is the Catholic church in Socorro, New Mexico, built on the ruins of the old Nuestra Señora de Socorro mission. The old mission was built around 1626, but was destroyed in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt. A portion of the adobe wall of the old church remains today and still can be seen behind glass just left of the altar. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
San Miguel is administered by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
History and legend
According to the San Miguel website, it is the oldest Catholic church in the United States, founded in 1598. Although the village of Socorro was founded at this time, and the Nuestra Senora de Socorro was built in the 17th century, San Miguel itself was not built until the 19th century. The construction of the church was most likely completed by 1821 when the first church baptisms, burials and marriages were recorded.
Local legend has it that during an Apache raid, an angel appeared and scared off the invaders. Parishioners thus decided to name the church after St. Michael, the archangel who supposedly saved the village.
- Marshal, Michael P. & Walt, Henry J., “Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province” (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historical Preservation Program, 1984), p 248-249
- “San Miguel Catholic Church” http://www.sdc.org/~smiguel/
- Marshal & Walt “Rio Abajo“ p 248-249
- Conron, John P. “Socorro: A Historic Survey” (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1980.), p. 7
- “San Miguel Catholic Church: History” http://www.sdc.org/~smiguel/about.htm
- Ramirez Alief, Teresa, et al., eds. “New Mexico Census of 1833 and 1845: Socorro and Surrounding Communities of the Rio Abajo.” (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, Inc., 1994.) p.xiii.
- Baca, Robert J. C. (2001) "Other Lemitar, Socorro Co, NM Burial Sites"
- Old San Miguel Mission - official site
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