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‘At this church my faith was formed’

Santa Ana Catholic Church was built in 1918 and housed the first Mass on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28 of that year. The community celebrated the church’s centennial all through June.

DEMING — A painting titled, “Paradise awaits you” was presented to Rev. Manuel F. Ibarra of Santa Ana Catholic Church in Deming as a gift marking the church’s centennial celebration and the people of the parish.

Santa Ana was built in 1918 and the parish celebrated throughout the month of June with special events.

The art was painted by world-renowned artist Joseph M. Chavez, who was born and raised in Deming. The painting was donated also in memoriam of Nabor and Maria Chavez who raised Mr. Chavez and encouraged him to pursue his God-given talent.

Chavez was in town for the celebration and made the presentation of his painting part of the special events at the parish center, 400 S. Ruby Street.

“Santa Ana Church has always had a special place in my heart,” Chavez said. “It was here I received the sacraments of baptism, first communion and confirmation. It was at this church my faith was formed.”

The painting will be permanently hung in the church to mark the church’s centennial and promote faith and devotion for generations to come.

The painting, “Paradise Awaits You,” was presented to Santa Ana Catholic Church in honor of the church’s centennial. (Courtesy of Joseph M. Chavez)

The painting, done in the middle Renaissance style, was painted in natural pigments, both organic and inorganic, mixed with an oil base. It was taken one step further and a crackle finish was added to appear one hundred years old and following in the theme of the church’s centennial celebration. The painting’s frame, 36 x 48 inches, was made in Israel. It is covered in Spanish Cordovan leather with bronze nail heads.

Chavez has devotional works of art throughout the United States and Europe. He also painted the Saint Michael Mural, which is the largest indoor religious mural (45 x 18.5 feet) in the United States. Visitors continue to come to view the mural in the church’s south wall.

“It is an honor to have my artwork displayed in my hometown,” Chavez proudly stated. “The parish community has always made me feel right at home, no matter how long I have been away.”