The fall pilgrimage to the top of Mount Cristo Rey has a new date.

Miguel Vigil
Miguel Vigil
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New Date

The annual organized hike by 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 didn't happen this year. Tradition has given way to change and this year the pilgrimage will take place on November 19.

Why the Change?

Miguel Vigil
Miguel Vigil

According to the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, the volunteer organization that maintains and preserves the Statue of Christ, the date “was changed 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, 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 2022

• Saturday, November 19
• Gates will open at 7 a.m.
• A mass will be conducted at the top by the statue at 3 p.m.

How to Get There

Getty Images
Getty Images

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.

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