Posted at: 03/28/2013 7:42 AM
By: RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press
CHIMAYO, N.M. (AP) - Tens of thousands of pilgrims are expected to visit El Santuario de Chimayo during Easter Weekend.
But this year, pilgrims are coming to this adobe chapel in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains under historic circumstances - the "Lourdes of America" is now under the first pope from the Americas.
Just two weeks after Pope Francis was elected, around 50,000 are expect to visit the popular northern New Mexico Catholic shrine, and officials say even more may come because of Argentine-born Pope Francis.
Some pilgrims will make the 90-mile, three-day walk from Albuquerque to the shrine that houses "el pocito," a small pit of holy adobe-colored soil that some believe possesses curing powers.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia says traffic patrols will increase Thursday to Sunday for safety.
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