March 22, 2008

Road Trip North With Connie

Good Friday, and Easter this weekend.
Thousands of New Mexico residents
make a yearly pilgrimage north of Santa Fe
to a religious area called Chimayo.
Although most try to arrive by Good Friday,
even the day after Good Friday
we saw many walking alongside both major highways
and simple 2-lane roads
to reach their destination.

From an article at:

Chimayó Easter Pilgrimage

During Holy Week
thousands of pilgrims journey to El Santuario de Chimayó,
a tiny shrine in northern New Mexico.
They leave from their homes,
or their cars parked on the roadside,
to walk 10, 20, 30, or even 100 miles to reach Chimayo.
In the darkness before Good Friday,
pilgrims line the highways north of Santa Fe

carrying crosses and glow sticks.
By Easter Sunday tens of thousands of worshi
pass through the doors of the little chapel,
built almost 200 years ago
on a site that is sacred to many Pueblo Indians
and descendants of Spanish settlers.
Somewhere around 1810,
a Chimayó friar was performing penances
when he saw a light bursting from a hillside.
Digging, he found a crucifix,
quickly dubbed the miraculous crucifix of
Our Lord of Esquipulas.

A local priest brought the crucifix to Santa Cruz,
but three times it disappeared and was later found back in its hole.
By the third time, everyone understood that
El Senor de Esquipulas wanted to remain in Chimayó,
and so a small chapel was built on the site.
Then the miraculous healings began.
These grew so numerous that
he chapel had to be replaced by the larger,
current Chimayó Shrine -- an adobe mission -- in 1816.
Believed to be built on sacred earth
with miraculous healing powers,
the legendary shrine El Santuario de Chimayó,
is probably the most visited church in New Mexico.
The crucifix which began the original shrine
still resides on the chapel alter,

but for some reason its curative powers
have been overshadowed

by El Posito, the "sacred sand pit" from which it sprang.
Each year during Holy Week thousands of people
make a pilgrimage to Chimayó to visit the Santuario
and take away a bit of the sacred dirt.
Pilgrims walk a few yards or a hundred miles.
Many claim to have been cured there of diseases,
infirmities and unhappiness.
The walls of the sacristy are hung with discarded crutches
and before-and-after photographs as evidence of the healing.

Santuario de Chimayó
Chimayo, NM 87522

We did not travel to Santuario de Chimayo today,
as the village is filled with pilgrims for this Holy weekend.
Instead we traveled nearby and witnessed several;
searching and hoping for help and peace,
in their quest to reach Chimayo.

Stopped at a rural road-side cemetery
where one grave has been decorated
with stylized motorcycles,
while other graves could only be
decorated with rough carved, wooden crosses.
The cemetery has a glorious view of the mountains,
and although lonely, is peaceful.

Views from Connie's Retreat tomorrow.

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