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ExtEnsion20Thepeopleclimbthemountainasaormopenancetoulllprom-isesmadetoourBlessedMothersaidReverendVincentPetersenOFMConv.whoispastoroOurLadyoGuadalupeShrineandParishinTortugasNewMexico.Otherswalktohonordeceasedrelativesandcontinuetowalkeveryyearinmem-oryothem.SomeevenwalktobeinsolidaritywiththepeopleoMexicoagainsttheperpetratorsonarcoticstrafckingFatherPetersenadded.Ritualandtraditionarepara-mountintheplanning.FromtheparishtoTortugasMountainthepeopleprocessintwolinesmenononesidewomenonanother.Theyareinquietprayerrecit-ingtherosarytogetherorquietlysingingsongs.Oncetheyreachthemountainamiliesarereunitedortheclimb.Therearethreepossiblerouteszigzaggingpathsoneachsideothemountainortheardu-ousdirectrouteupthecenter.Thecenterrouteissimilartoclimbingstraightupa25-storybuilding.ButonceontopothemountaintheviewsarebreathtakingandthatiswhereGodisoundsaidFatherPetersen.OnMountSinaiMountZionandMountTaborwhereJesuswastransguredthisiswhereGodrevealsHimsel.Asaraswegobackthemountaintopisaplaceorritualandprayerheadded.Onthesummitmanyotheaith-ulturntotheLordorreconcilia-tion.EvenbeorebecomingpastorotheshrineandparishFatherPetersenandotherFranciscaniarsintheareawouldcometohearcon-essions.Thentheyturntothelit-urgywhichhasbeencelebratedorthepast30yearsbyMostReverendRicardoRamirezC.S.B.D.D.whohasbeenthebishopoLasCrucessincethediocesesinceptionin1982.EachyearBishopRamirezhaswalkedaithullywithhispeople.ThisyearorthersttimeBishopRamirezwasinRomesoheaskedReverendRaymondFlorespastoroSt.AlbertsNewmanCenteratNewMexicoStateUniversitytocelebratetheMassorhim.FatherFloresownmotherwasextremelydevotedtoOurLadyoGuadalupesohewashon-oredtohavetheopportunitytopre-sideonsuchanimportanteastday.Thedaywasgorgeouswithcrystalclearskiesonthetopothemoun-tain.ThisjourneyteachesustotakeonestepatatimeFatherFloresre-marked.Weweretiredcomingupbutwehelpedoneanother.WesaidAnimoWecandoit.InactheaddedThewholeprocessshowsusthatweareonthejourneytogetherandthatiweareeelingdiscouragedwemustlooktoGodandtothemotheroGodaspartoourexperience.EachyearFatherFloresrelishesthestoriespeopletellduringtheprocession.Thereareamultitudeopetitionshesaid.OnepersonwalkedthisyearonbehaloalovedoneinAghanistan.Massatthetopothemountainisawonderulwaytoliupeachothosepetitions.CatholicExtensiondonorshavebeenprivilegedtosupporttheDioceseoLasCrucessinceitbegan.CatholicExtensionhasbuiltandre-pairedchurchessubsidizedthesala-riesopriestsandwomenreligioussupportedthegrowthanddevelop-mentoChurchleadershipandYEarSOFFaITHAsfaraswegobackthemountaintopisaplaceforritualandprayer.Manylikethisgentlemancometothemountainwithpetitionsinmind.Thejourneydownthemountaincanbeevenmoredifficultthantheclimbup.Butformorethan100yearsthistraditionhasbeenaspecialpartoftheNativeAmericanpeoplesdevotiontotheVirginMary.