A statement issued by the Santa Fe archdiocese said church officials were “particularly concerned about the safety and health of our elderly, children and our chronically ill population.
”The Archdiocese of Santa Fe continues to abide by New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order and amendments declaring a state of public health emergency as a result of the global spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease,” the church said. “As such, Chimayo and the Tome Hill group pilgrimages are hereby postponed until the State of New Mexico Department of Health lifts these COVID-19 directives protecting the lives of our citizens.”
Individual pilgrims visiting Santuario de Chimayo are strongly discouraged from visiting the sacred shrine because of the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and passing it on to another who may be gravely harmed.
“For those who insist upon visiting the Santuario at this time and are not willing or able to postpone their pilgrimage to a later date when the danger has passed, we ask that social distancing and proper safety protocols be strictly self-enforced to protect fellow pilgrims and their families,” the church said. “Please know this very difficult decision was made with a great sense of sadness.
“A shortage of State personnel cannot assure the safety of pilgrims traveling on New Mexico’s highways,” the church added.
New Mexico health officials strongly advise residents to stay home to the greatest extent possible, to limit person-to-person contact, and to undertake only those outings that are essential to health, safety and general welfare.
“Wherever you are and whatever you do, please be assiduous in following good hygiene,” Archbishop John C. Wester said in a March 13 letter. “We are in a trying time and situation, but our hope is that this action will assist in minimizing its duration. The Roman Catholic archdiocese for Albuquerque, Santa Fe and other parts of central and northern New Mexico has announced the immediate closings of its churches and schools ‘until further notice’ to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.”