CHIMAYO, N.M. (KRQE) – The pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo may have been discouraged for the second year in a row — but that didn’t stop some from making the trek this Good Friday. Normally, Holy Week is a busy time near Chimayo, but Friday, most of what you hear is the rare car driving by.
“The two of us did it a few years ago and we were just remarking on how it was a procession, it was tons of people,” said Clayton Calvin, who still made the pilgrimage. “Now, it’s really, we’re the only ones, we haven’t seen anyone else. It’s completely different.”
Calvin and Ansel Lane still made the trek with family and friends. While things may look different than usual, it’s not stopping them.
“This has been awesome, it’s been really cool time and just the opportunity to be out here with friends and family and spending it together is really beautiful,” said Lane, who made the pilgrimage for the first time. “Even though it’s not the same as it’s been in the past, it’s still very special and holds a lot of meaning and I’m just happy to be spending it with some people I really care about.”
The group is from Albuquerque but started about seven or eight miles from Nambe. They say while it’s more about the journey and not necessarily the destination, they can’t wait to finally arrive.
“Our feet are going to be really sore by the time we get up there so we’ll get the spiritual value of suffering,” said Calvin. “Couldn’t have picked a better day. The weather is just amazing out,” said Spencer Lane, also walking with the group.
While this year didn’t see the normally crowded pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo, people still made the journey by walking or driving. However, even outside of the church, things are much quieter than usual, with few people walking around, taking photos, and looking at local gift shops.
Agustina Rojas, also making the pilgrimage, says she vowed to God to always make her pilgrimage after her mom was diagnosed with cancer.
“I missed it last year and this year, even though they said don’t walk, I said, I have to walk,” said Rojas. “I asked God, if you pull her through this hard time and her surgery and whatnot, I will do my walk every year until the day I stop breathing.”
Living in Santa Fe, she made the journey from Nambe. Knowing things will be quiet this year, she says she’ll say extra prayers along the way for all those who couldn’t make it.
“Once you come to the Santuario, all the tiredness, the achiness in your bones and your muscles, they just go away,” said Rojas. “It’s amazing. The walk is amazing.”
New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Department of Transportation encouraged people to stay home and not make the pilgrimage to Tomé Hill this year, either. However, Friday morning, Sky News 13 did still see some making the hike.