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Saint Augustine
San Felipe de Neri Church
Old Town Albuquerque

The San Felipe de Neri Church, the place where Albuquerque began, stands on the north side of the plaza. Construction of the original church began in 1706 and completed in 1718-1719. It was located on the west side of the town plaza, north of the current Basket Shop on Romero.
San Felipe de Neri Church
There the church stood for more than 70 years until the rainy summer of 1792 when it collapsed. The current church was constructed the following year with the towers added in 1861.

In 1872 Jesuit priests sold the field containing the old church cemetery to a farmer with an agreement that any bones he found would be reburied in a common grave in a new cemetery located elsewhere in town. Howver, when the farmer began to level the land, tons of bones began to appear. Relatives of the buried were appalled and protested to the Jesuit priests; however, little was ever done to remedy the tragedy.

The church complex includes a parish school, the Sister Blandina convent and a Prisoner of War dedication garden.

In the San Felipe gift shop, dog lovers can purchase, for 50 cents, charms with images of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint of animals. The gift shop, open at irregular hours, is run by volunteers.

Records indicate that the church has been in continuous use since 1706, making it the oldest church in Albuquerque. A baptism was in progress on the day I toured the Old Town plaza.

Mass is held daily with some masses in both English and Spanish. The Gothic church has five feet thick abobe walls and two manual bells which are rung only for services, not hourly as is the practice for many Catholic churches.

Inside the church is a faux marble alter and new pews. After the new pews were purchased, the original pews were in great demand and sold for $1,200 each with a limit of two per person.

This was the final stop on the Old Town Albuquerque Walking Tour.

Return to introduction to Old Town Walking Tour - Old Town Plaza
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