Besides being the local church it is renowned worldwide for the healing dirt. There is a hole off to the side of the altar where visitors remove alittle of the dirt and supposedly no one fills the hole back up. (There are any stories debunking that theory tho'). Nevertheless it is called healing dirt.
After exiting the 'dirt' room you enter another room where the walls are lined with crutches and braces and canes, all left by people who have been healed by the dirt.
On Good Friday Pilgrims from all over walk many miles to the Santuario. Many are doing it in thanksgiving, for a healing, for a sacrifice, as penance. I suspect that for as many pilgrims there are, there as many different reasons.
Thousands of pilgrims make their pilgrimage every year. Beautiful setting. Beautiful tradition and devotion to be admired.
One time when we were there we had a chance to visit with the priest. He told us he a plane ticket in his pocket to return to his home. The joke was he had been there over 30 years (not sure of the years - but it was a very long time) and hadn't left yet!!
Visiting the Santuario de Chimayo is an absolute must for anyone visiting or passing by Albuquerque or Santa Fe.