Wednesday, April 04, 2007
State Suggests Safest Route for Good Friday Pilgrims
CHIMAYO Pilgrims are preparing for an annual Holy Week pilgrimage to a small Roman Catholic chapel in this northern New Mexico community.
An estimated 30,000 pilgrims flock to the Santuario de Chimayo on Good Friday to keep alive an old Catholic tradition of making sacrifices and penance to atone for sins. Some of the pilgrims carry with them heavy, life-sized wooden crosses.
The Spanish colonial-style mission church, set in a walled courtyard, was built from 1813 to 1817 by Bernardo Abeyta, according to the Museum of New Mexico. Many of the faithful believe there's healing power in the dirt from a hole in the floor of a room adjacent to the sanctuary.
To help with safety, the state Department of Public Safety is recommending a route for Good Friday pilgrims.
The department suggests walkers follow the shoulder of the northbound lane of U.S. 84/285. They should then follow the frontage roads crossing under the highway overpass at the Tesuque exchange.
After taking the southbound frontage road to Pojoaque, they can cross to the northbound side at the first stoplight and continue on to the Nambe-Chimayo turnout at N.M. 503. The Chimayo turnoff at N.M. 520 will lead to the Santuario de Chimayo.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe also is joining with New Mexico Clean & Beautiful, a division of the state Tourism Department, and other state agencies to encourage pilgrims to refrain from littering as they walk to the church.
"I encourage parishioners to walk on pilgrimage, but to be mindful that we are called to be good citizens,'' Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Rick Salopek of Santa Fe County said crews will place trash and recycling receptacles and portable toilets on adjoining county roads along the route.
"This is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in New Mexico,'' said state Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti. "It is important that we celebrate this beauty, and, at the same time, do our part to keep New Mexico the land of enchantment.''
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