Announced: April 14, 1999.
Location: Av. Ejercito Mexicano, Esq. Michoacan, Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico; (52) 229-922-9621; no clothing rental.
Site: 3.37 acres, including future meetinghouse site.
Exterior finish: Blanco Guardiano white marble.
Temple design: Classic modern.
Architect: Alvaro Inigo and Church A&E Services.
Project manager: Rodolfo Avalvos.
Contractor: Impulsa / Okland Const. Co.
Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.
Dimensions: 77 feet by 149 feet.
District: Nine stakes, two districts and two unaffiliated branches in Veracruz, on eastern central coast of Mexico.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: May 29, 1999, by Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy and president of the Mexico South Area.
Dedication: July 9, 2000, by President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency; 4 sessions.
Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley
O God, our Eternal Father, in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, we bow before Thee in reverence and love.
We are met to dedicate Thy Holy House. We have built it unto Thee as our offering, constructed to assist in Thy glorious work of redemption and exaltation.
Acting in the name of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the authority of Thine everlasting priesthood, we dedicate unto Thee and to Thy Beloved Son, this the Veracruz Mexico Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Wilt Thou accept it, dear Father. Wilt Thou cause that Thy Holy Spirit shall dwell here and touch the hearts of all who enter its portals.
We dedicate the grounds surrounding it, and the building from the footings to the Angel Moroni atop its tower. We dedicate the walls and the windows, the beautiful baptistry, the endowment rooms, the sacred celestial room, the sealing rooms with their consecrated altars, and every other facility found within this, Thine abode.
May it be protected by Thy power. May Thy watch care be over it. May it never be desecrated by any unholy hand or profane word. May it be secure against the storms of nature. May it be a house of peace, a house of prayer, a house of God.
O Father, we are so grateful for it. It is a magnificent blessing to have this Holy House in our midst, to which we may come, to be endowed by Thee from on high, to make covenants with Thee, to be sealed together as families under Thy divine plan.
Sanctify it to our good, dear Father. May we always look upon it as the House of the Lord, with holiness unto Thee.
As was said in Kirtland, "Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
"That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (D&C 109:72-73).
Please smile with favor upon Thy Saints wherever they may be. Reward them for their faithfulness. Be near them to comfort and sustain them. Guide them by the power of Thy Holy Spirit to walk in paths of righteousness and truth.
From this, Thy House, will go messengers to teach Thy divine word to all who will listen. Endow them with Thy power from on high, that they may speak words of eternal truth and bring forth a message of salvation unto the people whom they serve.
Bless this great nation of Mexico. Bless the officers of the government that they may be friendly to Thy people. We pray that Thy Saints may prosper in this good land, that they may be released from the shackles of poverty, that they may go forward with faith, with a crown of righteousness upon their heads, to do Thy will and build Thy kingdom.
Bless the youth of the land, the young men and the young women, that they may grow up in righteousness before Thee. Bless them with love for the Savior of the world, our Lord and Master, that they may pattern their lives after the pattern of His life. May they come to this, Thy House, to be sealed together as husband and wife, under Thy divine plan. Strengthen their will, and fortify their resolution to live as Thou wouldst have them. May Thy work grow and strengthen in this part of Thy vineyard.
Father, wilt Thou bless all who serve here, whether as workers or patrons. May bonds of righteousness bind them together as Saints of the Most High, seeking to do Thy will and enlarge Thy work.
We pray for the temple presidency, for the matron and her assistants, and for all who labor here in any capacity. May they not weary in their duty, but find refreshment in their bodies as they seek to do Thy will and accomplish Thy purposes.
We thank Thee for faithful tithe payers throughout the Church, whose consecrations have made all of this possible. Let blessings be showered down upon them, we humbly pray. Reward their faith and strengthen their love for Thee and Thy Son.
Bless Thy people everywhere that they may look to Thee and live.
Holy Father, accept of our thanks. Accept this, Thy Holy House. Accept all that will take place herein.
With faith and with gladness, we offer our prayer unto Thee. We praise Thy holy name. We thank Thee for Thy many blessings. We do it as Thy humble children, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, the Redeemer of the World, our glorious Leader and Friend, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Temple reflects generosity, beauty of Veracruz saints
By Jason Swensen
Church News staff writer
VERACRUZ, Mexico — Meliton Lagunes had no idea the two young men he drove past one evening more than 20 years ago were full-time missionaries. He knew nothing of their Church. He knew nothing of their message. He only knew it was late, the young men were walking alone and they were all in a bad section of Veracruz.
Meliton Lagunes pulled his little green car off the road and told the elders to jump in.
Stopping was one of the finest decisions he ever made. He offered the missionaries a ride and, later, accepted their invitation to join Christ's flock. Today he presides over the Veracruz Mexico Temple — a magnificent new building that reflects the generous, inviting nature of President Lagunes and his fellow Veracruz saints.
The white marble temple was dedicated July 9 in four sessions. President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the meetings. President Monson, along with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve, have been frequent visitors to Mexico in recent months during temple dedication trips.
President Monson seems to have a spot in his heart reserved for the Mexican people. Often during recent trips to Mexican cities like Tampico or Villahermosa, President Monson has taken a few moments to recall growing up among Mexican people in Salt Lake City's west side. He speaks often about his love for the Spanish language. He passes on President Gordon B. Hinckley's affection.
While hundreds of Veracruz members filled the temple for the first morning dedicatory session, hundreds more braved a deluge of rain outside while President Monson conducted the cornerstone ceremony.
Some men donned ponchos. Umbrellas sprouted like flowers from the crowd and the cornerstone choir.
"Today, I have such a strong desire to obey the Lord so I can always enjoy the blessings of the temple," choir member Minerva Salazar de Alvarez said afterward. "I felt the spirit so strong when we were singing that it felt like our voices were cascading without effort."
Words came harder for Walter Butler. Brother Butler and his companion, the late BYU president Rex E. Lee, opened Veracruz for missionary work in 1955. Now he grappled with emotions trying to talk about a temple dedicated in the port city where he once harvested souls.
"I remember the work being so easy in Veracruz," said Brother Butler. "The area was beautiful, there were people with good hearts . . . making friends with the Lamanite people is a wonderful feeling."
The Arizona native traveled to Mexico with his daughter and another former Veracruz missionary, Lynn Kimball. His daughter was so excited when she learned a temple would be opened in Veracruz that she bought her father's plane ticket and made arrangements for their trip.
"This temple dedication is truly a fulfillment of promise to the people," added Brother Kimball.
Scores of Veracruz members spoke of their thankfulness to the Lord and President Gordon B. Hinckley as they filed into one of the four dedicatory sessions — yet few said it was a dream to have a temple in their own town.
"A temple in Veracruz has not been a dream, we just knew it would happen," said Susan Dozal de Noriega, who joined the Church 21 years ago after learning about the gospel from friends. "Today we feel so happy, so emotional."
Mark Ray admits he had no clue the kind-hearted man who offered him and his companion a ride that night along a dangerous street would one day be called to serve as the first president of the Veracruz temple.
"No, when I met President Lagunes I did not think it was going to be a golden opportunity," said Brother Ray.
In fact, after meeting the Lagunes family for the first time, young Elder Ray was surprised they even wanted to continue with the discussions.
"Everyone seemed so bored during our first appointment, the family just wasn't responding — it wasn't until many years later that I learned the whole family was just sleepy from working all night in the family bread store," Brother Ray recalled.
But subsequent discussions were rich with the spirit. Soon the Lagunes' were attending local meetings and feeling the love of the members.
"I remember being introduced to everyone," President Lagunes said. "It made us feel important, like we counted."
He, his wife Juana, and their five children were baptized and President and Sister Lagunes enlisted in a lifelong effort of Church service. Their bread baking business took a dip in the weeks after the family joined the Church because President Lagunes insisted on telling all his customers about the gospel.
"But soon their hunger for the Lagunes bread was so strong that they all returned their business," Brother Ray said.
"Since that time our family has progressed spiritually and financially," said President Lagunes, who went on to serve as a bishop, temple sealer and patriarch. "The best business decision I made in my life was to associate myself with the Lord."
Taking young people through the halls of the sacred building during the temple open house has been the highlight of President Lagunes's young tenure.
"Many youth have walked through the celestial room and said of the temple, 'This is where I'm going to marry.' That's wonderful," he said.
President Lagunes was recently reminded to serve diligently while in his "youth." When President Hinckley called him to preside over the temple in his native Veracruz, the prophet asked about his age.
"I told President Hinckley I was 67 — he told me, 'Why you're young; I'm 90!' "