BY WREN PROPP
Special to the Monitor
Organizing pilgrims for the annual Good Friday walk to the sanctuary at Chimayó is a tradition for one area family.
The late Karen McLaughlin, mother of five and a religious education program leader at the local Catholic church, began organizing the walk to appeal to youth back in 1980.
“It was really her and the older youth in the religious education program, and several parents,” said her husband, Thomas McLaughlin, 73, of White Rock.
Holy Week brings thousands of walking pilgrims to El Santuario de Chimayo in the historic village of Chimayó east of Española.
The annual “walk” brings Christians from all parts of New Mexico, the United States and internationally to prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Good Friday is the height of the pilgrims’ progress to the Santuario, which features two chapels and a room dedicated to the dispersal of sanctified dirt. The holy dirt is thought to have healing powers.
Last year about 30,000 pilgrims arrived at the Santuario between Wednesday and Good Friday, said Annabelle Espinoza, secretary at the Santuario. Weather often plays a role in the number, she said.