Officials prepare for annual Chimayó, Tomé Hill pilgrimages

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officials are making preparations as thousands of Catholics will make annual pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayó and Tomé Hill during Holy Week.

El Santuario is a 206-year-old chapel, billed as a National Historic Landmark for its religious significance. Thousands of people go there each year, even from as far away as 91 miles away, in Albuquerque.

In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic canceled the annual seven-mile Good Friday walk to El Santuario de Chimayó. Then, last year, the pilgrimage was back on and continues this year.

Ahead of this year’s walk, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is performing a DWI sobriety checkpoint Thursday. There will also be routine mobile patrols on roads leading to Chimayó.

State road crews will set up traffic barriers along roads to the chapel, such as U.S. 84/285, NM-503 and NM-706. Traffic signs and electronic boards will also be posted, warning drivers to watch for walkers and drive with caution.

New Mexico State Police will provide security at the church and traffic control with Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties’ deputies. First responders and portable toilets will also be available.

If you participate in the pilgrimage, make sure you come prepared. Dress appropriately with light-colored and/or reflective gear, bring a flashlight if you’re walking when it’s dark and stay hydrated.

Crews will post warnings along NM-47, reminding drivers of people doing a similar pilgrimage to Tomé Hill in Los Lunas.

Officials say pilgrims can climb Tomé Hill at their own risk. They also say pilgrims should note these things:

  • No animals allowed on Tomé Hill
  • Do not remove horney toads from the hill, as they’re endangered
  • All trash must be removed from the hill
  • Emergency medical personnel can’t access the north or east sides of the hill