When the Parish of St. John the Baptist was established, the number of parishioners at St. Anne and Our Lady of Guadalupe was far beyond what these parishes could serve. It was determined that a new parish was needed for the growing population on the southside of the city of Santa Fe. Plans to establish a new parish began in 1950 and the parish was established on September 13, 1953 by Archbishop Edwin Vincent Byrne. The parish was dedicated to St. John the Baptist in honor of the first Bishop/ Archbishop of Santa Fe, Jean Baptiste Lamy and was established during the centennial celebrations of the establishment of the Diocese of Santa Fe by Pope Pius IX in 1853. The first pastor of the parish was Rev. Carlos Blanchard. First masses for the new parish were celebrated at the Chapel of St. Micheal at what was then known as St. Micheal's College ( now the College of Santa Fe) The site chosen for the new parish was located on Osage Avenue. The land was purchased in 1952 from Joseph A. and Hazel J. Bursey. The funds were taken from the Lamy Memorial Church Fund established in 1950 specfically for this purpose. Construction of an all purpose building/gym was completed by January 21, 1954. This building was used as a worship space and for all other parish needs until a church and other facilities could be built. The Rectory was located at 1398 Espanol Street on a house located on the site. By April 22,1963 definite plans and a model for the new church and Rectory were finished and approved and permission was recieved from the Archbishop to proceed with construction of the church. Archbishop Byrne blessed the new church on October 6, but construction was not complete until the floors were finished on December 18, 1963. Renovations to the church have continued throughout the years with the last major renovation beginning in 2005 through 2009 under the direction of Father Nathan Libaire. Close to a millon dollars were spent to completely renovate the church complex which included updating all utilities, bringing them into compliance with state and federal codes, installing a new heating and cooling system complete with new ducting, adding isulation to previously uninsulated walls, pew renovation, alter furnishings renovation and general beatification of the building inside and out including landscape. Lastly, a solar energy system was designed and installed that produces the electicity needed to run the church complex.
St. John The Baptist/Patron Saint
John the Baptist was born in Judea, about six months before the birth of Jesus. His parents were St. Elizabeth and St. Zachariah who reared him with care, conscious always of the important work and part he was to play in life. His mother, Elizabeth-meaning"worshiper of God" was cousin to Mary and a descendent of the priestly line of Aaron. It is to her that Mary sought refuse upon learning, from the Angel Gabriel, that she was to bear the Son God,Jesus. At the time of their encounter the child in Elizabeth's womb leapt for joy and Elizabeth exclaimed with the words... "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." ... John was about 32 year old when he began preparing to fulfill his mission. He withdrew to the desert beyond the Jordan River to fast and to pray. He kept himself alive by eating locusts and wild honey and his clothing was made of the skin of a camel. He returned to preach and baptize in Judea, going from village to village and many believed that he was the long awaited Messiah. He told them that he was not the Messiah and was not even worthy to loosen the Master's sandals but had come to prepare the way. He continued to preach and baptize even after Jesus began his own ministry... "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." ... His preaching made many of the members of the Jewish priesthood uncomfortable and they began to make inquiries about him. Upon hearing of John who became known as the Baptizer, Jesus too wanted to be spiritually cleansed and with his group of followers asked John to baptize him. When Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan, "the heavens opened up and the Spirit, in the form of a dove descended upon him and a voice from heaven was heard saying... "You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased" ... After this event Herod Antipas, the provincial governor of Palestine became concerned about John's preaching and especially his denouncement of Herod's court and way of life. Herod had John imprisioned and at a feast in honor of his birthday, his wife's daughter, Salome at the behest of her mother, asked him for the head of John the Baptist presented to her on a platter. When some of Jesus' followers heard of John's arrest they went to see him and upon returning Jesus said of him... "There is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist."