New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2008
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Msgr. Martinez Y. Alire

Msgr. Martinez y Alire was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1976 and has spent his entire career serving New Mexico. Shortly after his arrival to his fi rst assignment as a parish priest, the 150 year old adobe mission church of San Juan Nepomuceno in El Rito collapsed due to extensive water damage. Martinez chose to organize the community to restore the old church. It took almost three years to complete. Workers rediscovered forgotten methods of adobe construction in the rebuilding of the walls. While serving as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe , Martinez created the Archbishop’s Commission for the preservation of Historic New Mexico Churches. Many neglected missions had fallen into disrepair and were in danger of being lost. The commission restored and preserved scores of historic, mostly rural, churches scattered throughout the state. He also founded the Catholic Task Force on AIDS Related Ministries.

His next assignment was to form the Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Community in Santa Fe . He oversaw the construction and design of the new church which garnered national recognition for liturgical design and architectural beauty. And ten years later Martinez was assigned as rector of the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe . Again he addressed not only the church’s functional defi ciencies but he also sought to preserve and restore its art and history. He is a devoted student of New Mexico history and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. He is a recognized authority on traditional alabados, hymns of the Penitente Brotherhood.

During his tenure at the Cathedral, Martinez spearheaded the creation of the Santo Nino Regional Catholic School to serve Santa Fe. It was the fi rst completely new school to be built in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 44 years. He is also an active member of the larger community. He is a member of the Santa Fe Fiesta Council, the Santa Fe Fiesta Foundation, Caballeros de Vargas, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He has also served on the National Hispanic Cultural Center board and the Governor’s Commission on AIDS.