LAS CRUCES — The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces will celebrate an old tradition with the annual Blessing of the Fields procession on Wednesday, May 15.
At 10 a.m., the colorful procession around the Museum grounds begins, with the blessing the animals, plants, acequia and fresh-baked bread. Visitors who come to the Museum to participate in the procession from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will not be charged admission.
After a welcome by Museum Director Mark Santiago, there will be the Prayer of the Four Directions, led by Patrick Narvaez and Cacique of Corporacion de los Indigines de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Tortugas and Tortugas Pueblo.
Leading the procession this year and providing storytelling afterward for the students will be Most Reverend, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces and Reverend Alejandro Reyes of Hatch.
The bulto carried during the procession was created by Las Cruces artist Virginia Maria Romero. Other Museum art and objects related to San Ysidro and the Blessing of the Fields tradition from the Museum’s collection will be on display, including a large wooden statue of San Ysidro.
Students from Las Cruces Catholic Schools will be among the participants. After the procession, there will be storytelling for the children.
The Museum will also have a plant sale as part of the festivities. Vegetables, flowers and desert plants grown in the museum’s greenhouse will be featured in the sale.
At 1 p.m., a 37-minute documentary video called “Colcha Circle: A Stitch in Northern New Mexico Culture,” will be shown in the Museum’s theater. The video was produced by the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. Colcha embroidery is a folk art, characteristic of Northern New Mexico history and traditions.
This marks the 20th year that the Museum has held the Blessing of the Fields program, which focuses on a long and rich history. San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers, lived from 1070 to 1130. He worked in the fields for a wealthy landowner and was known for his devotion to God, his humility and his generosity to those less fortunate than him.
The story of San Ysidro has been passed down through the generations and still inspires many farmers and their families in the Mesilla Valley. For many years, workers in San Miguel would make a pilgrimage each May, stopping at all the villages along the valley. There would be a fiesta, with food and entertainment.
For more information, please call 522-4100. About the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum:The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for children ages 4 to 17, and $2 for active U.S. military members and veterans. Children 3 and under, and members of the Museum Friends receive free admission. The Museum is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information:(575) 522-4100www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org