The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum will celebrate an old tradition with the annual Blessing of the Fields procession on Tuesday, May 15.

The event is the start of a week of activities as the Museum celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

Beginning at 10 a.m., Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, will lead a colorful procession around the Museum grounds, to bless the animals, plants, acequia and fresh-baked bread.

Before the procession, Henry Narvaez, Cacique of Tortugas Pueblo, will lead the prayer to the four directions.

The bulto carried during the procession was created by Las Cruces artist Virginia Maria Romero.

Visitors who come to the Museum to participate in the procession from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will not be charged admission. Students from Las Cruces Catholic Schools will be among the participants. After the procession, there will be piñata busting and a variety of demonstrations.

The Museum will also have a plant sale as part of the festivities. Vegetables, flowers and desert plants grown in the museum’s greenhouse will be featured in the sale.

This marks the 20th year that the Museum has held this program, which focuses on a long and rich history. San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers, lived from 1070 to 1130. He worked in the fields for a wealthy landowner and was known for his devotion to God, his humility and his generosity to those less fortunate than him.

The story of San Ysidro has been passed down through the generations and still inspires many farmers and their families in the Mesilla Valley. For many years, workers in San Miguel would make a pilgrimage each May, stopping at all the villages along the valley. There would be a fiesta, with food and entertainment.

A large, wooden statue of San Ysidro is on exhibit in the Museum’s Heritage Gallery.

For more information, please call 522-4100.

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