Saturday, July 10, 2010

Iconic church brings New Mexico village together

 In Ranchos de Taos, preserving a church has become a rewarding rite of summer.

In the center of this northern New Mexico village stands a sun-baked adobe church made famous by the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and the photographs of Ansel Adams and Paul Strand.

But if it weren't for an annual ritual that has been kept alive for nearly two centuries by the close-knit community of Ranchos de Taos, it's likely the iconic church wouldn't be standing at all.

Hundreds of parishioners gathered over two weeks under the summer sun to plaster the thick walls of the San Francisco de Asis Church with a fresh coat of mud, from the massive buttresses at the back of the fortress-like church to the courtyard walls and the tops of the bell towers.

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