For more than 18 years Annie Anaya has been the head office manager at San Miguel Catholic Church, helping with coordinating a multitude of events and service. Like anyone else in the community, Anaya welcomed El Defensor Chieftain into her office to find out more.
Question: What is your role here at San Miguel?
Answer: Everything except the priest (she laughs). As the office manager I’m one of the first people citizens walking in talk to and I try to answer as many questions possible. If people are new and inquiring about the church I give them what information I can. Our office also coordinates special events beyond just Sunday mass. Our Easter holidays, Fiesta, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day: It’s up to us to make sure that these events are put together.
Q: Is your office in charge of regular upkeep?
A: We work with Mayordomos. They’re basically the caretakers and work hard to make sure that everything is taken care of at the church.
Q: How long have you been with the church?
A: I started in October of 2001. I was raised Catholic and baptized in this church. At first I was a volunteer chaperone for youth groups for San Miguel that would travel to Albuquerque and other places in the 80’s during the yearly archdioceses meetings. From there I started working as a youth counselor in 1991.
Q: What is the frequency of people visiting your office?
A: Quite often. We get calls and visitors all the time because this is such a historical place. This is a 400 year-old church so everyday we get people coming in. Visitors from all over the world. A few weeks ago we had some visitors come in from Japan. We get to meet people from everywhere.
Q: How many priests do you have at San Miguel?
A: Just one. Father John Anasiudu. He does every Sunday mass, every weekly mass and all of the funerals, which unfortunately we have several.
Q: At what rate do you preform weddings?
A: This year has been unusual. We’ve had about eight which is high these days because people are not getting married as much. But one of the things in the Catholic faith is if you are going to live as a married couple then you should be married.
Q: Working at San Miguel for nearly two decades, have you ever had a time in your life in which you questioned your faith?
A: Never. My parents were instrumental in teaching us how our sacraments are so important to live our faith and live better as community servants.
Q: What would you tell an individual, an adult who is not religious, why they should explore Christianity?
A: My first question would be why don’t you believe? I would then revert back to the Bible because we came from somewhere. God made us is my belief. You invite them, no pressure. My feeling is showing what faith has done for me. It is instilled in me, but I know that everyone is different.
Q: Let’s talk about your upbringing. Are you born and raised in Socorro?
A: I am. Originally I came from a family of 10 but now throughout the years we are a family of five. We’ve lost some over the past 14 years. I was right in the middle. We grew up in a house just south of New Mexico Tech which I still live in now. We’re actually working on remodeling right now and when you pull up some of the flooring you see the original foundation which has been interesting.
Q: What did you do before working here?
A: After graduating from Socorro High School I went and worked for Socorro Electric Company for 38 years as a computer operator. That was the greatest part of my life because it molded me into not being a young girl and instead being an adult, especially starting right out of high school. I knew that I couldn’t further my education coming from a big family so I went to work at the electric company and always talk with my friends from there how much it helped us grow. That is where I learned how to treat people in a working environment.
Q: A few random questions. What is your favorite movie?
A: I have so many. I’ll go with “Field of Dreams." That movie for me showed what can happen if you continue to believe. When my time comes I hope that all of these people will be there to greet me in heaven.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: My favorite artist is Neil Diamond. From day one his lyrics have been so inspiring to me. On the other hand I also love George Strait. I’ve seen both of them in concert many times and the stories their music tells if so true to life.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: It would have to be Spain. The countryside looks so beautiful. I’ve never been but it always looked so appealing. Every picture is so serene and alive.
Q: If you could change one thing about Socorro County, what would it be?
A: Socorro is a culmination of things. The reality is that I wish people would communicate better. Not fighting so much about who can benefit more over every little thing.
Be more compassionate with young people battling drugs or disabilities.
Our youth have a lot to say, just like our elderly and their wisdom.
There are a lot of good people here in Socorro and I wish we could stop getting caught up in the little political stuff and just treat everyone with respect. God knows no boundaries and, from my perspective, we should all be servants for the greater good.
Treating everyone with respect is what I wish we saw more of.
Besides a one hour lunch break, the Parish office at San Miguel is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday with a half day on Friday.