Local church celebrates centennial

Posted at: 01/29/2013 6:04 PM
Updated at: 01/29/2013 6:29 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A North Valley Catholic church with history dating back as far as the 1700's kicked off a celebration Tuesday by honoring its ancestors.

It meant being laid to rest. This time, they're hoping for the last time.

A traditional funeral mass at The Nativity of Our Blessed Virgin Mary Church kicked off their centennial celebration. One hundred years at their current location. Unfortunately the graves of some of the church's earliest parishioners were disturbed about 10 years ago. On Tuesday a horse and carriage brought them to San Carlos Camposanto. Berna Martinez has been with the church for her entire 72 year life. She's happy to see this day come.

"Well we all deserve a proper final rest. We need to honor them and respect them and put them in their proper burial place. Especially since this is the new cemetery for the old church that was flooded it's been a hundred years," Martinez said.

The site of the first church was Alameda and Rio Grande. A statute marks that corner now, there to commemorate the struggle to save the church's bell through the historic Rio Grande flood of the early 1900's. Martinez's family has always been here.

"I was born and raised her in Alameda. My grandparents, my great-grandparents were born and raised here. My ancestors helped build this new church here and they probably helped build the old church," Martinez said.

With full honors and respect paid, Martinez felt really mixed by the events this morning.

"I thought sadness. I think it's a combination of sadness and pride and enthusiasm and just faith all of that combined," Martinez said.

"It's kind of an awesome feeling to know that we're related to these people that are going to be buried today."

Today’s event was the first in a yearlong celebration of the church's centennial.