- “Please take care and celebrate safely at home. The department is grateful for everyone’s understanding and cooperation.” –Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe are asking the faithful to please stay home during Holy Week.
While annual pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayo and Tome Hill are cherished New Mexico traditions, the events have been cancelled.
The Archdiocese made the difficult decision to cancel all pilgrimages and special processions out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concern for the safety of the pilgrims journeying to these sacred sites.
El Santuario de Chimayo will be closed Holy Thursday through Easter Monday (April 1-5). El Santuario’s grounds, chapel and restrooms also will be closed.
Safety provisions provided by the NMDOT along the highly traveled routes to the holy sites, will not be available. These include lighting structures, trash receptacles, traffic signs, electronic message boards, barrels and cones.
“The DOT understands how disappointing this must be for many New Mexicans, but the COVID danger remains and without added safety provisions the risk of injury or death by walking on poorly lit, high-traffic roadways is too great,” Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval said. “Please take care and celebrate safely at home. The department is grateful for everyone’s understanding and cooperation.”
In addition to the assigned State Police Patrols in the district, extra officers will be dispensed to the Santuario area beginning Thursday, April 1 through Saturday, April 3.
“While the New Mexico State Police respect the religious rights of all New Mexico residents, as we recommend last year, we strongly discourage anyone from participating in these pilgrimages out of concern for their safety, as traditional safety measures, like traffic control, will not be provided again this year,” State Police Chief Robert Thornton said. “We ask that you not make the pilgrimage to the church to keep yourself and our officers safe.”