SANTA FE (KSMX)- The New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will be asking the faith-based community to stay home during Holy Week.
According to a press release, while annual pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayo and Tome Hill are cherished New Mexican traditions, the events have been canceled due to the imposed health order to prohibit gatherings of five or more people.
In addition, the grounds, chapel and restrooms at El Santuario de Chimayo will be closed Holy Thursday through Easter Monday. Pilgrims are discouraged from visiting the sacred site.
Because of the closings, NMDOT will not provide its usual assistance along the highly traveled routes to the holy sites.
“I am pleased to provide these provisions for New Mexicans during Holy Week but this year, we all need to stay home,” said Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval. “It’s not the time to risk walking, not only to help stop the spread of COVID-19 but also to prevent any injuries or deaths on our roadway”.
Archbishop John Wester also strongly discourages the faithful from making the annual trek.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham strongly urged all New Mexicans of every denomination to avoid large gatherings during Holy Week, even in places of worship.
“We understand this is a terrible hardship for the faithful, but public health is the first and foremost consideration”, the governor said. “And large groups are an enormous public health risk to our communities right now. I am immensely grateful to the Archbishop and to faith leaders from all across the state who have voluntarily canceled Holy Week congregations and encourage everyone to heed the guidance: This week, home is the holy place”.