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Saturday, January 01, 2011
Martinez, Husband Attend New Year's Eve Mass at St. Francis Cathedral
By Phil Parker
Journal Northern Bureau
SANTA FE — Hours before she was sworn in as New Mexico's new governor, Susana Martinez was welcomed for New Year's Eve Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
Martinez, a Catholic, arrived Friday evening behind dozens of friends and family members who piled out of a bus to fill the pews inside the century-and-a-half-old church.
Wrapped up against single-digit temperatures in a long black coat and purple scarf, Martinez walked with her husband, Chuck Franco, up the steps leading to the front of the church as the bells pealed. She paused to wave at a spectators shouting "Susana!" from across the street.
Martinez approached the cathedral's intricately carved front door and knocked. The doors swung open and there stood Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan in white vestments and mitre, holding a long silver crosier.
"Welcome," Sheehan said, and blessed Martinez before ushering the first couple into the church.
According to Martinez's staff, the knock on the door and ensuing welcome has some history — when Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias visited Santa Fe in 2009 as part of the city's 400th anniversary ceremonies, they did the same thing. The church-door knock is part of a bishop's investiture ceremony and is a ritual traditionally performed by popes, usually at Easter.
Martinez, who was to be officially sworn in at midnight Friday, was scheduled for a busy first day as governor, beginning with a public swearing-in ceremony on the Santa Fe Plaza at 10 a.m. today..
The state's first elected female governor and the nation's first Hispanic female governor was then to attend a public reception at the New Mexico Museum of Art, followed by a Children's Inaugural Ball at the Santa Fe Children's Museum at 2 p.m.
Her invitation-only inaugural ball was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.