A year after the pandemic caused most special events to be canceled, many are planning on returning to El Paso in 2021. The traditional Holy Week hikes up Mount Cristo Rey, however, will not be one of them

Pilgrimages and hikes on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday by thousands of El Paso’s faithful who make the roughly 4-mile round-trip trek to the 29-foot statue of Christ on the cross that sits atop Sierra de Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico to give thanks, pray, or as a show of faith will not be allowed again this year because of the coronavirus.

A post on the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee Facebook stated it would be difficult to enforce social distancing and other guidelines due to the number of people who traditionally attend.

“The closure extends to Holy Week as this is when expected attendance is in the thousands, and social distancing and CDC guidelines would be difficult to enforce,” the post reads.

El Paso Cristo Rey Christ Statue
Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee

In addition to the cancellation of all Holy Week events at the local landmark, the public is also not allowed onto the property at any other time. "Mt. Cristo Rey continues to be closed from now until further notice,” officials said. “Once it is reopened to the public, the Diocese of Las Cruces and the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee will make an announcement."

According to officials with the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, the road leading up to the parking lot will be barricaded on Good Friday and there will be security guys in place to keep people from trespassing in order to hike up to the statue.

Last year’s Holy Week events and the annual October pilgrimage that celebrates the anniversary of the completion of the monument were also canceled due to the pandemic.

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