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Funeral Honors


As announced in our last issue, and by invitation from the Martínez elders, the reburial services for the remains of the late Presbyter Antonio José Martínez took place yesterday at 2:00 p.m.  The funeral cortege gathered very early in the morning at the family residence of the late Hon. Santiago Valdéz, and at the same place where the deceased priest last lived, and the site of his burial 24 years ago.  The ceremonies began at exactly 2:00 p.m. beginning with the solemn Latin hymns sung – De profundis clamauis – by Don Inocencio Martínez, prior to leaving the house.

            Immediately afterwards a delegation of the Society of St. Anthony of Padua lifted the beautiful coffin in which the remains were deposited, and the procession formed, as expected, in a most orderly and decorative fashion, and the march to the Taos Association Cemetery began with complete reverence.  During the march the members of said Society [hermanos penitentes] sang a praiseful hymn [alabado] as they carried the remains.  The funeral procession was well attended by participants from all parts of the valley as well as from places beyond.  Most notable was the silence and dignity that reigned throughout the funeral march, all of which contributed to make for a very imposing ceremony.

            After arriving at the cemetery, Don Inocencio Martínez read from Job, Chapter VII, in Spanish; immediately followed by the services officiated by the Rev. Albert Jacobs of Colorado, who even helped in lowering and placing the coffin in the grave; the Martínez family showered the grave with diverse bouquets of flowers that scattered on top of the remains as the tears flowed from the crowd.

            Before covering the grave with dirt, Don Inocencio Valdéz, Jr., read, in English, an excerpt from one of the sermons by T. DeWitt Talmage D. D., immediately followed by a reading of the same text in Spanish by Don Guillermo Martinez, which our readers can peruse in our next issue.

            The next speaker was the Hon. Pedro Sánchez, whose heartfelt emotions were evident and entirely touching from the moment that he began speaking.  His face displayed tenderness because he was not able to obtain his normal and distinguished eloquence.  He could barely articulate but a few words to commemorate the remains of the distinguished hero who lay before his eyes and to whom he referred to repeatedly in his discourse as the benefactor of New Mexico.  He spoke in vivid terms about the merits and virtues of the deceased, among other things he said, “It has been 24 years since the remains of New Mexico’s most magnanimous man were first buried, and now, for the second time the brilliant June sun has warmed us for a notable event that will be recorded in the historical annals of the valley of Taos.  Events such as this are very rare in the history of the human race.”

             He was followed by speeches no less eloquent and touching as the ones that came before, by the Reverends José Domingo Mondragón and Eulogio Montoya.

            In conclusion, Don Malaquias Martínez, in concise terms and full of expressions of gratitude, gave thanks to the gathering.

            His grave was decorated with flowers, a railing, and a marble tombstone, or monument, with the following engraved inscription:

In Memory of the Presbyter D. Antonio José Martínez

Priest of Taos N. Mexico

Born on January 17, 1793
Died on July 25, 1867 A. D.

The New Mexico Legislature, at the time of his death, called him
“The Honor of His Homeland”

He served in his Spiritual administration for forty-two years.

The number 7, which has been found four times in the history of his life, is reverberating.

                                                                                    El Monitor
                                                                                    June 25, 1891


Translated by Vicente M. Martínez, edited by Fr. Thomas Steele, S.J.


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