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‘This is tradition,’ Chimayó pilgrim says

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

CHIMAYÓ – “They didn’t cancel the crucifixion,” said Eli Castellano of Albuquerque, one of hundreds who visited El Santuario de Chimayó on Good Friday, despite the Archdiocese of Santa Fe closing the sacred site in the days leading up to Easter.

Pete Lujan of El Rancho and his daughter, Linda Lujan-Weisberg of California, walk away from the Santuario de Chimayó after visiting the northern New Mexico church on Good Friday. Hundreds of people made the pilgrimage despite church officials declaring it was canceled due to health concerns amid the pandemic. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

State officials also urged people not to make the annual pilgrimages to Chimayó and Tomé Hill in Valencia County due to the still lingering COVID-19 pandemic, but many still did.

Typically, tens of thousands of people walk to the 200-year-old sanctuary on Good Friday each year to ask for healing, seek blessings and say prayers of thanks. But this year, the numbers appeared to be only in the hundreds, due to precautions taken during the pandemic. The archdiocese announced the cancelation of the pilgrimages for the second year in a row in the interest of public safety.

Isaiah Lucero, 15, left, and Isaiah Gurule, 13, both of Albuquerque, make their way along N.M.503 on their Good Friday pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayó. Typically, thousands of people would be crowding the road. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

But that didn’t stop some.

“I’ve been doing this all my life,” said Diego Lucero, who was walking down N.M. 503 with his wife and four children. “We listened to the governor last year, but this is tradition.”

“And because we want our kids to carry on the tradition, and our grandkids,” added his wife, Anastasia.

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