Franciscan priests came to Chinle in the 1890's. They established their first church here in 1905. In the 1980's the diocese decided to build a new church. By then the Pope and American bishops were encouraging clergy to embrace other cultures while they spread the gospel. The first Mass was held in this church on Christmas 1989.
The doors have Navajo images of the Yeis, the holy people of the Navajo. They are a reminder to the people to walk a holy path.
|Our Lady of Fatima|
The church is shaped like a traditional hogan with a sky hole in the top center of the building and a 6' hole in the center of the floor to expose the sacred earth. It reminds the Navajo people of the creation of the Earth. In their story of creation all forms of life came forth from a hole.
The Baptismal Font is over the hole in the center of the floor. The four stages of life are shown in the baptismal bowl: A baby on a cradle board, a young woman awaiting the future, a woman weaving a rug and an elderly man watching his sheep.
|Cathy and Father PJ (Florecito Pabotoa, Jr.)|
|Navajo Pottery on the altar|
This tabernacle was made to look like a Navajo summer home and holds the Holy Eucharist. Cathy said this was stolen and then recovered.
|St. Francis of Assisi|
|Navajo Madonna and Child|
|Saint Katherine Drexel|
The four mountains are sacred to the Navajo and there are paintings on the north, south, east and west walls.
|The Stations of the Cross|
|Closeup of one of the Stations of the Cross|
We had a very interesting and private tour of the hogan Catholic Church. Then we headed out for dinner and ate at Garcia's. It was pretty good food and they had a fun gift shop.