Mount Cristo Rey
by Abigail Tellez
Last Sunday October 25th, thousands of people from El Paso, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez gathered atop Mount Cristo Rey for the annual pilgrimage.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A VISION
This monument to Christ standing atop the Sierra de Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico, was the vision of Fr. Lourdes Costa. Back in 1933 he envisioned raising a monument at the mountaintop and started working on it together with the congregation. They erected a 12ft high temporary wooden cross, which was blessed by Father Costa on February 13, 1934. This was the first pilgrimage to the top of the mountain. The temporary cross was later replaced by a larger and wider one made out of iron. The monument as we know it today was created by world famous sculptor Urbici Soler who placed the first stone of the limestone statue on May 24, 1939 and had it ready for pilgrimage by the end of the year.
Whether it was to pray or to do the workout of the week, thousands of people from all ages walked up Mt. Cristo Rey this past Sunday for its 76th anniversary. Gates were open at 6am but people were already there before that time, for many Catholics of the borderland, the pilgrimage represents a journey of faith, so much that some of them even made the climb barefoot. The Bishop of Las Cruces, Oscar Cantu, led the procession that included several Matachines groups and youth groups that were there to celebrate the World Youth day. Once they reached the top, Bishop Cantu presided over mass and dedicated the homily to the families that were there. An annual pilgrimage is held on the last Sunday of October.
THING TO KNOW
The trail length is 4.4 miles round trip and it takes about 2.5 hours to complete. For more information about Mount Cristo Rey please visit their webpage at: http://www.mtcristorey.com