Growing up in a small town where pilgrimages were a well-known practice as a way to deepen faith life, one pilgrimage, in particular, has shaped me as a Catholic parent. Early Good Friday mornings, before the sun rose, we would load up the car and drive to a small town where we then walked the roads and countryside about 10 miles to a Church called Santuario de Chimayo.
My Dad grew up in the neighboring village around this little town. The walk was special—we prayed the rosary, the stations of the cross, sang songs and had moments of profound silence that drew me to a deep place of prayer, reflection and a feeling of deep heartache for Jesus’ journey to the cross. The experience of community walking with a purpose in prayer, song, and silence shaped my faith life as an adult.
My first Good Friday away from home was heart-wrenching as I didn’t know how to recreate this faith-filled feeling, the experience of the journey. When I had my first child, I decided that I would (re)create our very own pilgrimage to our local church. Hence, for the last 23 years, my family (now college-aged) and many friends (sometimes up to 50 people) sojourn throughout the neighborhood, with a large cross on the shoulder one of us. We pray the Stations of the Cross at street corners and sing the Stabat Mater along the way until we reach the Church. The moments of silence along the way still profoundly touch my soul. This way of the cross with my family and friends has been our pilgrimage of sorts that has become a way of faith for us!
Suzette Sornborger, Pastoral Associate
Director of Faith Formation