Friday, June 29, 2012


Finally made it to El Santuario de Chimayo!  We woke up in the Church's gym in Santa Cruz (1 toilet, 60 men), and munched on a quiche, with a bowl of cereal to sate my appetite.

There's a lightness to my footsteps we I walk to Chimayo. There was good conversation among the pilgrims, happy that we had "made it" (almost).  There was a nine smile stretch between Santa Cruz and Chimayo. We passed many churches, houses, and restaurants along the way.  We took a novel turn into old Chimayo (town), a section I had never explored.  And, like clock work, we made it to our destination sooner than we were scheduled to arrive.  Throughout this pilgrimage we walked faster than we had to, and my feet and legs felt it.

So we sat outside with the men's group we were shadowing, and the women's group we met in Santa Cruz.  As is the rule of pilgrimage, there is no fraternization between men and women's groups, so girlfriends and wives, sisters and aunts could not interact with any of the "men's folk."

Finally, we were given the "go ahead," and we made it to the Sanctuary.  Walking into the Sanctuary, we pass by a smaller statue of Mary, carved in the 1400s in Spain and brought to the "new world" int he 1600s, and housed in the Cathedral in Santa Fe. A kiss of her gown, or a gentle kneel was done by all of us. 

Inside the Sanctuary, there is much singing as each group makes it into the small space. NOW we can reach out and touch, hug, kiss, and fraternize with one another. Gias are lined up in front, along with the musicians and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Each group goes up to the front, and one by one we receive yet one more rosary from Spain's Santiago de Compstela.

Back in our group, we then file out, passing by the small chapel that houses the hole with the holy soil, with a variety of crutches and Santos lining the wall.  Out back, there's a nicely arranged gathering spot, with a large gazebo with stone benches around the gazebo.  A huge tree used to shade this spot. From each group, the crosses were brought together, as were the pieces of the heart and images of Mary.  The soil was distributed in the front of the gazebo and blessed.  There was a Mass that was celebrated, with the Chancellor from the Cathedral celebrating and preaching the homily, saying nothing that was memorable.  Few priests have done this walk. Archbishop Sanchez, who recently died, was well remembered as a friend of the pilgrimage. 2 hours in the sun is where we sat as the Mass went long.

Afterward, we gathered our bags, hugged and said our good-byes.  Joseph Sanches (from a previous pilgrimage) picked me up and dropped me off at the airport where I would pick up my rental car.

More on the afterthoughts of the pilgrimage coming up.

Buen Camino!


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