Pilgrimage to Mount Cristo Rey

May 2, 2012

There are many reasons why people join pilgrimages.  One could be for personal healing and another could be for a community intention just like we had at Mount Cristo Rey, at the border of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.  The Peace and Justice Ministry of the Diocese of El Paso organized this pilgrimage to support the Dream Act that has been passed in Congress but didn’t pass in the Senate a couple of years ago.  With the growing migrant population not only in the border area but all over the country, the call for the Dream Act is indeed a desire of many young people to be able to reach a higher level of education to serve the country, professional fields and their families.  I would say over 300 people joined the pilgrimage up to the cross which was at least five miles round trip.  We started at the entrance of the mount accompanied by the park rangers to guide our way for the Stations of the Cross.  Each station was led by representatives from a parish community of the diocese to reflect on the station with stories of people who migrated into the country to work, have a family and send their children to school.  Following this reflection is the cross being carried to the next station until we reached the summit of Mount Cristo Rey overlooking the three border areas without a fence.  Open as it was, however, an imaginary border line was there, border patrols were very visible for any attempts to step down and cross this imaginary line.  We could see the stretch of fence at the bottom of the hill that is connected for hundreds of miles from Texas to California.

People will continue the pilgrimage to pray, speak, and support our children and children’s children until this dream become a reality, like the reaching the summit of Mount Cristo Rey.  Like one pilgrim said, “it’s hard to describe the emotion to reach Cristo Rey after going through the trail but it’s really worth it.”  I hope it is too for the Dream Act.

Ariel Presbitero lives and works in El Paso, Texas.