LAS CRUCES – Forecasters are warning Doña Ana County farmers to prepare for a hot, dry summer, which won’t be kind to most crops.
Still, faithful farmers gathered Friday to appeal to a higher power, asking San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers, to flood regional valleys in enough water to sufficiently irrigate the lands, keeping area residents and animals fed.
The Most. Rev. Peter Baldacchino, bishop of the Las Cruces Diocese, members of the Tortugas Pueblo, students from Las Cruces Catholic School and other community members participated in the annual Blessing of the Fields, the 22nd one held at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum .
Pueblo members led a procession around the museum’s outdoors exhibits, featuring farm animals, farm tools and various other agricultural devices. The Rev. Baldacchino blessed each with Holy Water and said a prayer in the name of San Ysidro.
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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.
As the story goes, San Ysidro, who lived from 1070 to 1130, 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.
Faithful carried a bulto, or carving of San Ysidro, during the Blessing of the Fields procession. The bulto was created by Las Cruces artist Virginia Maria Romero.