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Thousands make Mount Cristo Rey hike for Good Friday

It’s one of the most important times of the year for Christians. At the end of Holy Week and ahead of Easter comes Good Friday. And for thousands of El Pasoans, that means a trek up Mount Cristo Rey.

Well before dawn on Friday, groups and families including small children started up the trail on a 5-mile round-trip hike with flashlights and light-up shoes to illuminate the way.

As the morning went on, larger groups from churches across the region gathered to celebrate with music and hiking. Many paused at the top to reflect on the 29-foot-tall limestone statue of Christ triumphant, erected in 1939.

The entire Mount Cristo Rey experience is organized by the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, an all-volunteer group based around the descendents of the original builders of the Cristo Rey monument. The group was expecting 8,000-10,000 people to make the hike Friday.

“This is a year-round thing that we do,” said Ruben Escandon Jr., spokesman for the restoration committee and a third-generation member. “There’s different little pilgrimages that we have during the year. Also hikes. So we’re up here working on the trail, working on the parking areas, just making it accessible for people to come up an enjoy it.”

The committee’s dedication allows for the acts of faith on Mount Cristo Rey seen on days like Good Friday. Members of the ACTS Ministries stood with a 100-pound cross as people pinned note cards with their prayers to it, all to be taken to the top in celebration of Christ.

“One of the things Rudy reflects on as he’s walking with the cross, because it is so heavy, is the sound of it as it drags on the ground,” said Nancy Tovar with ACTS Ministries. “And it’s a very, disturbing sound I guess, for people to hear as they walk. And it’s a way to remember Christ’s sufferings for Good Friday.”

If you want to know more about pilgrimages or how to help the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, you can find upcoming events and contact info on its website.

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