El Camino del Norte a Chimayó Pilgrimage
On 20 July 2012 a handful of peregrinos (pilgrims) left Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Denver, Colorado to embark on the first organized pilgrimage to travel along the backroads of Colorado and northern New Mexico to El Santuario de Chimayó.
They hope to inspire the creation of El Camino del Norte a Chimayó, a pilgrimage route similar to that of Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of Saint James) which passes through the southern tip of France and northern Spain.
The pilgrimage was organized by Anne Sieben, the "Winter Pilgrim", who has gone on a number of pilgrimages in the last several years. Padre Benito Hernandez, from Our Lady of Guadalupe, served as the peregrinos’ spiritual leader.
Twenty days and 360 miles later the remnants of that original group arrived at Chimayó.
The pilgrims stayed at a variety of places during their journey, most often supported by food and lodging by the church groups in the communities that they passed through.
Everywhere they went they were treated with a mixture of respect, curiosity and awe.
At the conclusion of their journey, in the late afternoon on a warm, sunny day, they met with their loved ones who waited expectantly as they approached El Santuario.
The peregrinos and their families entered the Shrine dedicated to Santa Niño de Atocha, the patron saint of peregrinos. At the Santo Niño de Atocha shrine they entered the tiny Prayer Room to give thanks for their safe completion of this pilgrimage.
Following the visit to the Santo Niño Shrine the peregrinos visited El Santuario de Chimayó and attended a small, celebratory mass.
It is hoped that this pilgrimage will serve as a focal point for the establishment of a permanent camino route to serve those individuals who seek the enlightenment that inevitably occurs from such a physical and spiritual journey.