By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS-April 24, 2017) — The pilgrimage to Tomé Hill in Tomé, New Mexico is an annual Good Friday tradition, similar to the pilgrimage made in northern New Mexico to the Sanctuario de Chimayo, in Chimayo. That landmark draws thousands to the Catholic shrine.
One website reported it is said the Penitentes began the annual tradition to the Tomé hilltop as a way to make penance for their sins.
Many area Christians continue the tradition as part of Easter week, making special prayers at the hilltop shrine. Three crosses dot the top of the hill.
Tomé Hill lies east of the Rio Grande and six miles south of Los Lunas.
On Good Friday, 11 of our Christ in Power life recovery program participants (CIPP) and Joy Junction Chaplain Marcos Atwood went on what Marcos described as a “spiritual walk” to Tomé Hill.
They started the two mile trek with prayer and continued it by enjoying each other’s company.
Marcos said he was amazed at all the people who were there. Once the Joy Junction contingent reached the top, Marcos said they “gathered together” to give glory to God, and pray for all of our Joy Junction guests.
He continued, “It was an honor to do an event like that with some of our CIPPers. To enjoy each other’s company drug free while seeking God’s wisdom is awesome. I would recommend this event every year, because it relaxes the soul while soothing and renewing your mind.”
But what did those program participants who accompanied Marcos on the walk think? We asked some of them.
Drew said the walk to Tomé Hill was very inspiring, and allowing him to get a brief glimpse of what Jesus went through opened his eyes spiritually and mentally.
“I felt a spiritual cleansing, which was what I needed, and this journey started the process. I am very grateful and blessed for the experience.”
Sophia said it was very special to share this experience with her husband and new family of friends at Joy Junction. She said that an extra special treat was everyone who went wanted to go, and the next day there was not a single complaint, but rather positive comments from everyone who experienced the event.
She continued, “We all did this in remembrance of Jesus our Lord and Savior.”
Bernardo said both he and his wife enjoyed the experience. We were able to share this with others, and it gave us another special place for us all to come together and get the Word of Jesus. We were able to pray for loved ones and friends as well for ourselves.
He added, “I believe it is a gift from God to gather us together to allow (His) love to work on us.”
Bernardo said he hopes Joy Junction again participates in the Tomé Hill Walk again for Good Friday 2018. If so, he said, it will be another opportunity for others to share the experience with family and friends.
Donald and Glenda dubbed the walk as “great.”
They said they felt the presence of God with them, and when they thought they might not make it, someone came and offered help.
“We were very happy and prayed to God, asking Him to watch over all of us and to get along with each other and to be thankful that Joy Junction was here. It was a Good Friday.”
Robert also said the walk was great.
He added, “As we sat and prayed at the top of Tomé Hill, I thought about how Jesus made a walk like this carrying the cross to His death for my sins.”
Angelique has made the trek before, and said that every time she does she feels as if she is being cleansed.
“I start by crying, as I give everything that I am going through to the Lord. As I journey up the hill, I am in constant prayer … At the top of the hill, it feels like my Lord lifts up my spirit as He removes my stress. To me it is an unexplainable feeling that keeps me coming back each year.”
Tia said the Tome Hill walk was for her a spiritual experience.
“I felt very at peace, and was able to have time with the Lord and fellowship with the CIPPers. When I got to the top I felt like I was being cleansed of my worries, and that I could leave them in God’s hands. I am very thankful, and glad I had the opportunity to experience the walk.”
Ginger said that to partake in the walk was a reminder of what Yeshua did for her and the world, and further showed her how much He loves us.
Stephanie said she was filled with joy and excitement. She said by going to Tomé Hill, she wanted to experience the spiritual peace that she had heard everyone talking about.
As Stephanie headed toward Tomé Hill, she said the walk was more strenuous than she had anticipated, but she knew she had to try.
For encouragement, Stephanie started speaking God’s Word to her heart – “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” She kept repeating that every step as she and other of our Joy Junction pilgrims made their way up the hill. She said she stopped half way, as she began to feel more than a little winded from the physical exertion. Stephanie knew she couldn’t go any further.
“As I sat down all I could do was cry. I felt defeated as I watched others reaching the top. I looked at the three crosses at the top of the hill. God filled my heart with peace as I started praying and singing praises.”
She recalled some words from the well known hymn. “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. I love and cherish that old rugged cross, and I will cling to it and exchange it some day for a crown.”
Stephanie reflected, “I may have not made it to the top … but my Heavenly Father and I had my spiritual renewal at that rock on Tomé Hill that day; one I will never forget.”
We always try and provide unique spiritual and learning opportunities for our guests at Joy Junction. Your support makes it all possible.
Photo captions: 1) Crosses at the top of Tomé Hill. 2) Some of the Joy Junction life recovery program participants make their way up Tomé Hill on Good Friday. 3) Finally, at the top of Tomé Hill. 4) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds, who was born in Bournemouth, UK, is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his more recent books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book, “Two Hearts One Vision,” is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds email@example.com.
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