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Shrinking rural villages put churches at risk

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SANTA FE (AP) — Shrinking populations in rural New Mexico villages are putting aging churches at risk since the buildings aren’t receiving the same upkeep as previous generations.

The Santa Teresita Church in Mora County is one of several participating in a fundraising project to benefit some of the state’s “endangered” historic churches in an effort to save the structures, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Through cultural events starting this month, organizers of the Nuevo Mexico Profundo project hope to raise money to preserve the churches that sit in villages across the state.

Nuevo Mexico Profundo is the brainchild of Frank Graziano, an author and former professor of Hispanic Studies who lives in Chamisal.

His inspiration came from research and trips he made for his recently published book, “Historic Churches of New Mexico.”

When he started working on the book, using a guide to churches in northern New Mexico created in the 1990s for reference, Graziano discovered that many of the listed adobe churches had come down. Churches in places like El Valle and Picuris Pueblo were among the casualties.


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