New Mexico

[state seal of New Mexico] The 47th state to be admitted to the United States, 6 January 1912. The first attempts at founding a permanent mission were made, 1581, by the Franciscans from Mexico, Father Agustin Rodriguez, Father Juan de Santa Maria, and Father Francisco Lopez, who gave the region the name of New Mexico. The result, after an auspicious beginning, was the successive deaths of all three at the hands of the Indians. A second beginning was made in 1597 under the military leader, Don Juan de Oñate. He was accompanied by Father Alonzo Martinez and nine Franciscan companions and in 1598 the first mission was established and a church built at San Juan de los Caballeros, about 30 miles north of Santa Fe. The Iatter settlement, a white colony, was founded and named, c.1606, a church being built some time after 1622. By 1608 the Franciscans could report 8000 baptisms among the Indians, and by 1626 the number had grown to 34,000, among 27 missions. Prominent among the missionaries were Father Alonzo de Benavides, Father Nicholas Lopez, and the saintly mystic, Venerable Mother Maria de Jesus de Agreda. In 1680, Indian revolts against Spanish government and against the efforts of the missionaries to put down pagan practises culminated in a massacre during which 21 missionaries were killed, the churches destroyed, and all traces of religion obliterated. In 1692, however, the missions began to be restored under the governor, Antonio de Vargas, assisted by Father Francisco Corvera and several associates. For 150 years the missions had a checkered history under Mexican bishops living far from them. The revival of faith came after the cession of New Mexico to the United States in 1848, and the appointment of the zealous apostle, Reverend John B. Lamy, as vicar Apostolic of the territory in 1850.

Catholic influence on place-names of the state is shown in the following: Ecclesiastically the state is governed by the archdiocese of and the dioceses of See also,
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