The Chimayó village in northern New Mexico may be small, but its influence is anything but.Every year during Holy Week, an average of 300,000 people make their way to El Sanctuario de Chimayó. The church is known to have healing properties and bring blessings to those that seek them.”It was always just to get back to God,” Nina Steffen, from Rio Rancho, said.The annual tradition involves a pilgrimage to the small Catholic church from people around the world.The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and health concerns.”It feels good. We need to see the people walking again. It was so sad for two whole years. It was really, like depressing not to see any of the people walking,” Sylvia Montoya, an early trekker, said.Montoya added the pilgrimage is an annual tradition for her family.Despite driving this year, she said she made the walk several years ago, along with her mother, sister, and brother.”My mom did it two years ago, and she did it from Galisteo,” Montoya said. “Her and my sister and my brother.”A similar experience for Steffen.She said she’s been visiting the holy sanctuary for the past 22 years, joined by a group of local military moms.”What really started it was our sons. I’m a group of Blue Star Moms that have sons and daughters in the military,” Steffen said. “We’ve just done it every year to ask God to protect our kids.”Steffen added she often spends her time praying for her son, Howard.He’s currently stationed in Jerusalem.”I got my dirt from the hole. I got the holy water,” Steffen said. “They talk about God’s country. This is the ultimate God’s country, right here. It’s just so peaceful.”Some people, like Nicole Guzman, started their trek a day before Good Friday, in order to beat the crowds.”This is the first time in like the past three years that I have done it. I would normally do it every year,” she said.Guzman started around 11 a.m. in Truchas, an almost three-hour walking journey to Chimayó.Like many, she embarks on the journey for a special reason.From praying for good health to fulfilling religious promises.”A lot of people pray. A lot of people meditate. We met a lady back there that was meditating on her way this way carrying the cross,” Guzman said. “This year, I kind of just did it for my family. I have my stepmother’s mom, that was really sick. And in the process, we found out that she had passed, so this was for her more than anything.”Despite her personal loss, Guzman continued to walk on.Not just for her own family, but for others in need of prayer and guidance.”I know a lot of us carry a lot of burdens, and this gives us time to meditate and to think about it. At the end of the day, God has us and he’s going to push us the rest of the way,” Guzman said.The pilgrimage dates back hundreds of years.El Sanctuario de Chimayó is one of the most-visited holy sites in the United States. The sanctuary sees the most visitors during Holy Week but is open year-round.

The Chimayó village in northern New Mexico may be small, but its influence is anything but.

Every year during Holy Week, an average of 300,000 people make their way to El Sanctuario de Chimayó. The church is known to have healing properties and bring blessings to those that seek them.

“It was always just to get back to God,” Nina Steffen, from Rio Rancho, said.

The annual tradition involves a pilgrimage to the small Catholic church from people around the world.

The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and health concerns.

“It feels good. We need to see the people walking again. It was so sad for two whole years. It was really, like depressing not to see any of the people walking,” Sylvia Montoya, an early trekker, said.

Montoya added the pilgrimage is an annual tradition for her family.

Despite driving this year, she said she made the walk several years ago, along with her mother, sister, and brother.

“My mom did it two years ago, and she did it from Galisteo,” Montoya said. “Her and my sister and my brother.”

A similar experience for Steffen.

She said she’s been visiting the holy sanctuary for the past 22 years, joined by a group of local military moms.

“What really started it was our sons. I’m [with] a group of Blue Star Moms that have sons and daughters in the military,” Steffen said. “We’ve just done it every year to ask God to protect our kids.”

Steffen added she often spends her time praying for her son, Howard.

He’s currently stationed in Jerusalem.

“I got my dirt from the hole. I got the holy water,” Steffen said. “They talk about God’s country. This is the ultimate God’s country, right here. It’s just so peaceful.”

Some people, like Nicole Guzman, started their trek a day before Good Friday, in order to beat the crowds.

“This is the first time in like the past three years that I have done it. I would normally do it every year,” she said.

Guzman started around 11 a.m. in Truchas, an almost three-hour walking journey to Chimayó.

Like many, she embarks on the journey for a special reason.

From praying for good health to fulfilling religious promises.

“A lot of people pray. A lot of people meditate. We met a lady back there that was meditating on her way this way carrying the cross,” Guzman said. “This year, I kind of just did it for my family. I have my stepmother’s mom, that was really sick. And in the process, we found out that she had passed, so this was for her more than anything.”

Despite her personal loss, Guzman continued to walk on.

Not just for her own family, but for others in need of prayer and guidance.

“I know a lot of us carry a lot of burdens, and this gives us time to meditate and to think about it. At the end of the day, God has us and he’s going to push us the rest of the way,” Guzman said.

The pilgrimage dates back hundreds of years.

El Sanctuario de Chimayó is one of the most-visited holy sites in the United States. The sanctuary sees the most visitors during Holy Week but is open year-round.



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