Francisco de Asis Church
The day after Don Abeyta and the other residents brought the crucifix to the church of Santa Cruz, it disappeared. The next night, Don Abeyta again found the glowing light on the hillside and re-discovered the crucifix in the soil. For the second time, they made their pilgrimage to the church while carrying the cross. It was gone yet again the following day. Once more, it was found on the hillside and brought to the churh. After the third disappearance and reappearance, the villagers accepted that the crucifix was determined to stay in Chimayó and built a simple adobe hut around it.
Over the next three years, many people made pilgrimages to see the cross and took soil with them as a tangible element to recall the mystery. By 1813, Don Abeyta, on behalf of the residents, made a formal request to the local priest to build a chapel of devotion to the crucifix, in order to accommodate the many pilgrims who visit. The priest sent a letter to the bishop passing on the request. The chapel was completed by 1816. It is not, and never has been, a parish church, nor a mission church.
Since its construction, it has been a shrine. Don Abeyta, an Hermano Mayor of the Penitentes, kept the faith alive during the following period of time when clergy were absent and instability grasped the community. Notably, he commissioned artwork that would increase devotion to El Señor de Esquipulas, as well as convey their understanding of the tenants of Catholicism. Much of the original artwork survives in the church today. To this day, people continue to take a little soil home with them.