Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Faith and Hope: A Pilgrimage to Chimayo

On Good Friday, the annual Easter pilgrimage to the small adobe chapel in Chimayo, New Mexico will begin. By Sunday, as many as 50,000 people will walk the ninety miles from Albuquerque, the fourteen miles from Chupadero, the forty miles from Taos or the twenty-five miles from Santa Fe pushing baby carriages and wheelchairs, bearing crosses and statues of their patron saints, holding high photographs of loved ones who are ill in a petition for healing. Some will park their cars along the highway and join the others as they walk the last few miles on the winding two lane highway that leads to the Santuario de Chimayo.

People from all over the world and all religions make the pilgrimage. They walk in memory of a loved one or as a prayer for peace. Some walk because their grandmother told them the journey is part of their heritage. They must follow the foot prints of their parents and grandparents and great grandparents  in giving thanks for God’s gifts.

Most walk as a demonstration of their faith, their belief in a God who listens to their prayers. When they arrive at the Santuario, they sit in the pews and pray and then enter the adjacent room to finger the dirt thought to bring forth miracles.

And for those not rooted in faith who walk to be part of a community, to be part of something larger than themselves, they may find a message of hope in the form of a lone peach tree in full bloom, flourishing in the sandy soil.


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