EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Thousands of people across the city continue to create new memories atop Mount Cristo Rey.
Sunday was the 80th annual Mt. Cristo Rey Pilgrimage and it brought people from all over the Borderland and beyond together.
80 years ago, a new tradition was born and carries on every last Sunday of October in the Borderland region. Thousands make their way to the very top of Mt. Cristo Rey to express their faith and promises.
“I started coming up here because my dad got sick with West Nile and thankfully he survived it and I promised to come every year ever since. He passed away 13 years ago but I still continue,” Rick Hernandez told KTSM.
Hernandez and his brother John Hernandez, keep their family tradition alive. For the last 19 to 20 years, both have walked the annual Mt. Cristo Rey Pilgrimage which is hosted by the Diocese of Las Cruces and the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee.
“It’s great to see families every year. Some of the same families you see year after year. They get together and make this an annual family event,” Ruben Escandon Jr., Spokesperson for the Mt. Cristo Rey Committee said.
This year marks the 80th anniversary since the monument of Jesus Christ on the cross was built. It’s a special place many walk up the 29-foot tall mountain to, including those who help maintain it.
“A lot of them are third generation volunteers like myself that we’ve been up here,” Escandon said, “Watched our grandparents work on the monument, watched our parents and now we take over and hopefully maintain it also for future generations and families to come up.”
Sunday’s event also displayed new memorials for the 22 lives lost on the August third shooting.
“We have them stored on site so every year that we have an event, we’ll put those out for the public to see, remember and memorialize those people that lost their lives on August 3rd,” Escandon mentioned.
As the years go on, many people such as the Hernandez brothers will continue their tradition and prayers.
“Give thanks to all the blessings that we’ve gotten throughout the year. Say prayers for any misfortunes that happened to friends and family. Hopefully god wiling to have more blessings for the years to come,” Hernandez said.
The Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee says its always open to volunteers to help clean and maintain the mountain, trails and monument.
If you’re interested in volunteering, click here.