Thousands trek to Chimayo for annual Good Friday pilgrimage

New Mexico
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It’s a tradition that has been around for more than 200 years. Thousands of people make the yearly pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo, joining together to pray and worship before Easter Sunday.

It’s a tradition passed down through generations. People wait for hours to get into El Santuario de Chimayo to get a blessing on Good Friday.

“I love this place. It’s so peaceful, calming and just give your prayers to the Lord,” said Sandra Apodaca of Albuquerque.

By car, by bike and by foot, people from all over the world made the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo this Holy Week.

“God gave me the strength,” said Maria Sandoval. “The strength to carry it over here.”

Maria Sandoval makes the journey with her dad every year, and she recently started carrying this cross to remember her loved ones who have passed.

“I’m only 24 years old and I’ve lost a lot of people in my life,” Sandoval said. “But the ones that I have listed on here are the ones who have made a big impact.”

The pilgrimage draws everyone young and old, two legs and four.

“This is the first time that he’s made the walk with us,” Apodaca said. “So we are pretty excited that he got to join us today.”

Apodaca has done the trek since she was able to walk, and is continuing the tradition with her grandson.

“We walk this faithfully every year,” Apodaca said. “My father did it since I was his age, and he passed away in 2012, so I continue to do the walk for him.”

Many wear commemorative shirts to honor those who can no longer make the trek.

“We walk for my granddaughter,” said Felix Casaus of Belen. “We lost her to an automobile accident a year and a half ago and we walk for her.”

It’s a time of prayer and renewal, where people come and focus on their faith. The shrine in Chimayo sees around 200,000 visitors every year.

While some made the pilgrimage to Chimayo, hundreds of others hit the pavement for the two-mile hike to the top of Tome Hill in Valencia County.

Many walk to keep promises they’ve made to God, while others spend the time praying for loved ones and asking for forgiveness. Some say they’ve experienced miracles of healing when reaching the top.     

El Santuario de Chimayo, Tome Hill Road Closures & Weather Information


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