In the northern New Mexico area, just about 20 miles north of Taos, is a village known as Questa. With a beautiful backdrop of majestic mountains, the small village is home to a few thousand people. It is famous for its (bear) natural imprint just north of Questa in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on Highway 522.
My high school, sits north of the village. Most are of the Catholic faith, its residents, young and old are a loyal and a dedicated group of team players. There are no big egos to stroke and no politics to play when their community is at risk.
About three years ago, the parishioners of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church learned their church was in danger of collapsing and possibly soon to be a building categorized as “condemned.” The Santa Fe Catholic Archdiocese told the parishioners that they would not be liable for any necessary repairs; the building was too great a liability. The people of Questa gathered its parishioners, family and friends and did what they do best; work together. They advised the Archdiocese that they wanted their church returned to the village of Questa for repair and renewal, and so it was to be.
Over the next three years, the town’s residents, along with experts in every field, from electrical, to construction, excavation, plumbing, roofers, to adobe makers, etc. gathered in the name of community effort to save their beloved St. Anthony’s Church.
People set their egos and differences aside if only for the common good of rebuilding something that was precious, honorable and spiritual to their community. They had work schedules to follow. Many former residents drove miles and stayed over the weekend to work at their common goal. Although they no longer lived in Questa, their heart and soul belonged to Questa and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Many donated their equipment, time and money to their uniform goal. “ It’s been an awesome experience. Last weekend was all about celebrating and watching an masterpiece of art come together. As the pieces of the puzzle came together, everyday it took your breath away.
All the protocol and celebration was beautiful, but what struck me was expecting it was going to be a bit anti-climatic-- going into Mass last Sunday, living in a dream to have the Church back again. It was a sense that it was never gone, yet it was new and fresh. It was surreal experience,” offered Mark Sideris.
Earlier this month St. Anthony’s Catholic Church’s renovation was completed. On Sunday, August 14, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church held a Dedication Mass at noon highlighting a beautifully renovated church as an honorable and caring flock, that could not and would not let their church collapse, sat proudly and faithfully amongst their friends and family.
Questa residents, we are in awe of your stamina, hard work and dedication. What can one say about a people worthy of working together and accomplishing what many deemed impossible? One can say they are a people of dedication, honor, loyalty, spirituality, diligence and perseverance.
In your teamwork fashion, we wish we could have saved the Old Costilla Schoolhouse too.