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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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La Capilla de San Antonio de los Lentes, c. 1912
La Capilla de San Antonio de los Lentes, c. 1912 Photo courtesy LDP Press and Patricia Guggino,  from the book Seeds of Struggle, Harvest of Faith, Albuquerque, 1997

Continuity of Commitment and Customs in La Capilla de San Antonio at Los Lentes

Built in 1789 by inhabitants of an ancient settlement now called Los Lentes, this Catholic capilla (little chapel) is dedicated to the Franciscan friar San Antonio. History and traditions surrounding the chapel have been handed down orally through the generations, and present-day customs and the beliefs surrounding them are essentially unchanged. Two couples are appointed each year as mayordomos (stewards) in charge of keeping the chapel clean and planning a fiesta, the feast of San Antonio, celebrated in mid-June. Specific chores in preparation for the fiesta are shared among the families of Los Lentes. Certain duties have become family legacies passed from one generation to the next, such as providing a new religious habit for the statue of the saint or new decorations for the carriage upon which it is paraded. The extensive preparations throughout the chapel include repairing cracks and damage to this and other statues. Over the years, the parishioners also have made large-scale improvements and renovations, including a galvanized roof, private pews that replaced rough benches, and a wood floor laid down over the packed dirt in 1912. Side altars added in 1926 are inscribed with the name of one of the village builders, reflecting pride in his contribution. The bell, dedicated in 1893, is still joyfully rung for fiestas.

Originally submitted by: Heather Wilson, Representative (1st District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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