Jeff and I aren’t Catholic, but on Wednesday, March 31, we drove up to Chimayó to visit what “is no doubt the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the United States.” (At least, according to the New Mexico state historian’s office.)
In other words, we went to El Santuario de Chimayó two days before Good Friday — two days before the grounds would be flooded with pilgrims who’d arrived there by walking for days. Admittedly, we didn’t even know about the “walkers,” as they’re called, until we were driving down the highway and saw signs warning the “Santuario walkers” to stay on one side of the road.
But it wasn’t terribly crowded when we were there on Wednesday afternoon, and it helped that we arrived just at its opening hours.
The Santuario was built in 1816, and is now part of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. More than 300,000 people visit the Santuario annually, and almost 30,000 visitors arrive during Holy Week. Both of us had been there before: Jeff back when he attended a week-long film photography workshop for young adults in Santa Fe (“It was 2004 or 2005; I don’t remember,” he says), and I during a 2007 day trip to Santa Fe.
Check out a few more photos I didn’t post here.