My recent arrival in the Mora Valley of Northern New Mexico, the birthplace of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, has raised up both the new and the old. The new for me has been experiencing the welcoming, kind and friendly people of the Mora Valley. It has been a privilege to experience the life of St. Gertrude’s Parish, visiting the mayordomos (the individuals who generously care for each of the sixteen Mission Churches), and coming to know many families of the Mora Valley.
The old I have wonderfully experienced through the intriguing stories of the people, who were children when Fr. Jim, our founder and Fr. John, our co-founder arrived here in the 1950’s. Again and again, people joyfully want to tell their stories. Frequently I hear, “Fr. Jim was our football coach.” “Those priests were like fathers to me.” Several people have told stories of Fr. Jim walking from place to place because he had lent his car to someone in need while he was then left to travel on foot. As he walked people would pick him up and take him on his way. One elderly man said to me, “Father, I have known a lot of priests in my life, but Fr. Jim and Fr. John were something very special. They came for God and to give their whole lives to serve us. They held nothing back.”
Along with the love people have for our founder and co-founder, people have also shared many memories about the Sisters and the early “lay apostles.” “Lay apostles” was the name given to the laity who came and served in the vision of Fr. Jim. We now call them SOLT lay members. I rarely go a day without someone asking when we are going to get more Sisters here. The people love the deep relationships they have shared with the Sisters through the years.
Today it seems ripe for the rejuvenation of the lay volunteers. As I visit with people and ask for ideas on how the laity can serve, the list is long. They say the laity can help with “the youth, the elderly and homebound, young families, the Legion of Mary, catechesis, assisting with the programs for the poor, food pantry, evangelization, etc.” There are a number of strong, young families who are very aware and concerned for the good of their children due to the serious problems of our modern world. They gather frequently, support one another and grow in graced friendships. They have a great desire to be holy, Catholic families and we are working to support them and help them grow.
As a parish and ecclesial family team, we are working to build a strong foundation in this Catholic community. From there, we hope to extend the invitation to be part of the family of God. It is a blessing and joy to serve in our ecclesial family team here in the Mora Valley at this time in history. You are welcome to come and visit, and even join us!
FR. DALE CRAIG, SOLT
Fr. Dale Craig was ordained to the sacred priesthood for SOLT in 1997. He began serving at St. Gertrude’s in March, 2021. Previously, he was pastor at Most Holy Trinity in Phoenix, Arizona.