Category Archives: PADRE

RELUCTANT DAWN: A Padre Martinez Biography

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! You may download at no cost an Adobe PDF copy of my monograph RELUCTANT DAWN, A History of Padre Martinez, Cura de Taos at this link:

If you wish to send me a free-will offering for your online ADOBE copy, you are welcome to do so at this address where I will be until the end of May: Rev. Juan Romero c/o St. Joseph Church – PO BOX 1709 – Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.

If you wish to have an autographed hard copy of the 2006 edition of book, please send to the above address your name and address together with a money order in the amount of eighteen dollars ($18) per book. Indicate to whom you wish the book(s) to be dedicated.

You may also order RELUCTANT DAWN through Amazon at this link:

RELUCANT DAWN is based on primary documents,in particular on the 1877 unpublished manuscript-Biography of Padre Martínez by Santiago Valdez, a close relative of the Padre. Valdez wrote it in Spanish, and Benjamin Read M. Read translated it into 19th century English. His younger brother Larkin Read, married to a relative of the Padre, beautifully copied the manuscript housed in the Ritch Collection at the Huntington Library near Los Angeles.

The Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio (now called the Mexican American Catholic College) first published my monograph in 1976. I published a second edition in 2006 on the occasion of the unveiling of the Padre Martínez bronze memorial at the Taos Plaza entitled “LA HONRA DE SU PAIS/The Honor of His Homeland”for the epitaph on his tombstone. The phrase was coined by his peers in the Territorial Legislature on the occasion of the Padre’s death in 1867.

I am pleased to make the text available, through this website dedicated to Padre Martínez, to anyone interested in the history and culture of New Mexico, especially to those with an interest in ecclesiastical history.

Fr. Juan Romero
Taos native, and
Priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles


This Sunday, June 21,  is Fathers’ Day and the beginning of summer.  In addition, Pope (meaning “father”) Benedict XVI  has proclaimed this year, beginning last Friday–that was the Feast of the Sacred Heart–be observed throughout the Catholic World as the  YEAR OF THE PRIEST.  This augurs well for the re-establishment of the web log dedicated to the life and legacy of Padre Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos.  Padre Martínez was a legitimate father in fact as well as the spiritual father for the thousands of people he served during his long ministry as the Cura de Taos in northern New Mexico.  As a young man of 19, he had married María de La Luz  Martínez, a distant relative from the same village of Abiqiui, NM–westerly of Santa Fe and Taos.  She died while giving birth to their daughter, and was buried in the church yard of Santo Tomás in Abiquiu.  Antonio José had been baptized there as an infant , and at the age of 29 would return there for one of his first assignments as the priest in charge.  The maternal grandparents of little María de La Luz brought up the child in the unity and love of an extended family of which  Antonio José was a part.   Nevertheless, after a few years, Antonio José felt the call to priesthood, and traveled to Durango to pursue the calling through seminary study.  Not long after María de la Luz turned twelve, she also died an untimely death.

On this Fathers’ Day, I salute my own father José Tobias Romero He he had the good sense and blessing in 1934 to marry my mom, María Claudia Garcia.   They had know each other as children and in fact used to be high school sweethearts.  Mom died in 1969, forty years ago this November.  About a year and a half later, dad went to the seminary, and in 1975 was ordained as a Claretian priest.  Dad had four things in common with Padre Martinez of Taos: 1) both were “of Taos,” 2) both were married and had children, 3) both were widowers, 4) and both became priests after the deaths of their respective spouses.  The life of Padre Martinez, however, was tainted by the bitter struggles and controversies with his new Bishop, Jean Baptiste Lamy who arrived in 1851 at Santa Fe as Vicar Apostolic.  Unlike Padre Martinez, my father always maintained a deservedly very wholesome reputation.

May this Year of the Priest be a time of affirmation for  good priests, a time of conversion for  bad priests, and a time of healing for priests who have strayed from faithfully living their vocation. 

Stay tuned to this blog, and pray for all priests.