Fiesta raises money for church restoration

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This year San Miguel Church commemorated its 399th anniversary of establishment. The true date of the anniversary is Sept. 29, according to the Rev. Andrew Pavlac, who has served in Socorro for seven years.

"We gather community from all over the county, from all over the state to come here to one of the oldest churches in the whole country to celebrate San Miguel's Feast Day," Pavlac said. "We do it for three days, because he (San Miguel) is our patron. It's a big celebration. That is what the San Miguel Church Fiesta is about.

"It's also a fundraiser to pay our property insurance, which this year is $25,000, and to help with (church) restoration."

The Catholic Encyclopedia describes St. Michael as being one of the principal angels, an archangel. His name was the war cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers, often referred to as the "bad angels."

Next year at this time Socorro's Catholic Church will have been in operation for four centuries, encompassing a time and place that includes some of the richest history in all of North America.

Florencio and Juanita Saavedra, who had been married in Lemitar, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary as they were crowned senior king and queen of the fiesta.

San Miguel Church Fiesta 2013 celebration began Sept. 27 with evening prayer and the coronation ceremonies. After that, fundraising booths opened and the musical merrymaking started. Sept. 28 festivities continued with a morning parade beginning at Sedillo Park and continuing south down California Street. Then at 5 p.m. the church celebrated the Blue/Mariachi Mass honoring local and national law enforcement, fire department and security officers.

After Mass on Sept. 29 there was a well-attended procession to the plaza where Pavlac spoke from the gazebo. He called on the congregation to imagine the past four centuries of service the San Miguel Church has contributed and to think about the innumerable future years of service that present parishioners would be part of. Music groups, a raffle, a silent auction and a Sunday barbecue contributed to the celebration.