New Date for Fall 2023 Pilgrimage to Top of Mt. Cristo Rey
The annual organized hike for El Paso’s faithful to the 29-foot statue of Christ on the cross that sits atop Sierra de Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico has traditionally been held on the last Sunday in October for as long as I can remember.
But that changed in 2022 and this year’s fall pilgrimage to the top of Mount Cristo Rey now has a new date.
Why the Change?
According to the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, the volunteer organization that maintains and preserves the Statue of Christ, the date “was changed [last year] at the direction of the new Bishop of Las Cruces.”
The Dioceses of Las Cruces, not the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, serves Doña Ana County.
In a post on its Facebook last year, the Restoration Committee explained that “the [new] date was chosen [by Bishop Peter Baldacchino] because he wanted to celebrate the Feast Day of Christ the King. Although [the October date has been] a tradition, [Bishop Baldacchino]…moved the date for liturgical purposes."
The other change of note is that the pilgrimage will be on a Saturday, not a Sunday. Before the modification, it had been observed on Sundays since the 1960s.
The Annual Pilgrimage to Mount Cristo Rey 2023 Date
• Saturday, November 25
• Gates will open at 7 a.m.
In a social media post regarding the fall pilgrimage, Ruben Escandon, Jr., Public Relations Director for the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, noted that priests will offer the sacrament of reconciliation/confession at the base of the mountain from 9 a.m. until noon.
The procession to the summit will begin at noon. Bishop Baldacchino will conduct mass at the base of the statue of Christ at 3 p.m.
How to Get There
The parking lot to the trailhead is located off McNutt Road.
Take Sunland Park Drive to Doniphan, turn south then west on Racetrack Dr., continuing across the Rio Grande, then take a left on McNutt Road at the light in Sunland Park, NM. Stay on McNutt for about 1 mile and watch for a sign to Mt. Cristo Rey on the right.