SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico -- Thousands of people across the Borderland walked up Mt. Cristo Rey to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the historic monument hosted by the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee and the Diocese of Las Cruces on Sunday.
"This is a tradition now going 80 years strong that people have been coming up here," said Ruben Escandon, Jr. with the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee. "This is a day that people come out here, gather in families, really neat to see, come up to give thanks and to pray."
Every year thousands of people walk to top the of the mountain, a spiritual pilgrimage for many. Many make the walk up, for different reasons..
"Mine, which is probably the best reason, is my family," said Felix Vasquez Jr., another member of the restoration committee. "For the well being the health of my family, my friends, well you know for the world and for peace, because that's the idea behind the monument."
The pilgrimage is tradition passed from generation to generation. Vasquez told ABC-7 his father brought him up the mountain when he was a child. He then brought his children on the special pilgrimage and now they continue to visit the mountain with their children.
"(Families) come up and give thanks for favors that have been granted, for special petitions that they make to Christ, to God, for help with certain situations in their lives," Escandon said.
The spiritual mountain continues to unite three communities, from three different states.
"We've seen miracles here," Vasquez said. "Hopefully it will never…well I'm sure it will never end. Someone will always step up to continue the work that's been going on here for 80 years."
The Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee works year round to maintain the mountain. They are seeking donations to continue their work as well as volunteers. For more information, click here.