The Catholic Church in Springerville
(This history and the photos are from the Fidencio Baca collection.)
Click here to read more complete local Catholic history as witten by Fidencio Baca
       When the Spanish settlers first arrived in Valle Redondo (Round Valley), between 1870 and 1876, they brought their faith with them, the Roman Catholic faith.      
       A Catholic priest did not accompany them as had been the case when the Spanish conquistadors settled along the Rio Grande.  The nearest Catholic Church where they could be baptized or get married was Socorro, New Mexico, or the Mission Church in Zuni, New Mexico.
      The Spanish people of Valle Redondo kept their faith by gathering in different homes for veloRios, rosarios, and the re-enactment of the Posadas.
      Their first priest Father Badilla arrived in St. Johns on the 2nd of August in 1880.   On the 3rd of August he celebrated Mass at the home of Dona Dolores Gallegos.   St. Johns was then called San Juan as it had been named in honor of Maria Baca de San Juan.   Father Badilla named the Catholic Church San Juan de Bautista in honor of St. John the Baptist.
      Father Badilla established a Catholic church in Concho naming it San Rafael, and then went to Valle Redondo (Springerville) and built a church there calling it St. Peters.  This first Catholic Church in Valle Redondo was located at the foot of what is now Cemetery Hill in Springerville. (No photo available)
    Later, a better and bigger church was built on the site where the Baptist Church is now.    
(Photo in 1914 )

       In 1927 the Catholic church was built on the site where the J. J. Baca Hall had been.   (Apache St. & South Papago) Before the hall burned down it was used for silent movies and dances.   Mr. J. J. Baca donated the land to the church. Jenano Acosta, a native of St. Johns was the architect.   In 1949 the church building was renovated when a propane heater exploded and damaged the facade and walls.   

(Church photo prior to it's removal during construction of the new church in 2003.)

This information courtesy of Fidencio Baca.