Monday, February 6, 2023

The festival for the Virgin of Guadalupe returns without restrictions

MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) – A Catholic pilgrimage site believed to be the largest in Mexico and Latin America, celebrated on Dec. 12 for the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, returned to the Mexican capital on Monday without restrictions since the start of COVID-19. -19 pandemic.

In the past two years, the pilgrimage, which took several days in December, was canceled or restricted because the large number of pilgrims represented a high risk of contagion from the coronavirus.

During the darkest days of the pandemic, in 2020, Mexico City’s basilica where the most revered image of the virgin known as “Guadalupana” or “La Morenita” is preserved, was completely closed for four days, something that Had not seen before in decades.

It was open in 2021, but pilgrims coming not only from different parts of the country but also from abroad were customarily not allowed to sleep on the plinth around the temple.

This year, as early as Monday, the basilica’s outer courtyard resumed its traditional image, filled with a sea of ​​tents.

Many worshipers did not want to miss one of the most emotional moments of the celebration, the Midnight Mass in which, in the first minute of December 12, the traditional Mexican birthday song “Las Mañanitas” is sung in Guadalupe.

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the basilica by foot, bicycle or bus, many carrying huge images or statues of the Virgin and sometimes walking the last meters on their knees or offering some other form of sacrifice that they offer to God. Let’s offer Guadalupana. Asking for a favor or giving thanks.

The Mexico City government estimates that some 3.1 million people have visited the sanctuary in recent days.

The rector of the basilica, Salvador Martinez, in a statement celebrated the recovery of “normality” and invited the public to visit the sanctuary, but “to avoid large crowds.”

But this could not be possible. Those good intentions got lost in the ocean of loyalty.

Since the 16th century, Cerro del Tepeyac – where Catholics believe the Virgin appeared and the site where the current church was built – has been a point of pilgrimage for millions as Guadalupeña is the patron saint not only of Mexico but of all Latin America.

The temple houses an image which, according to believers, was miraculously imprinted on the cloak of the indigenous farmer Juan Diego in 1531.

By the year of the pandemic, only the closures from 1926 to 1929 were remembered, during the war in which the state actively persecuted the Catholic Church, and because of construction work on its current headquarters in the 70s.

The celebration also takes place in the cities and communities of Mexico with parties, pilgrimages and shows with rockets and fireworks.

In just such an act, a truck carrying fireworks exploded on Sunday night in a town northeast of Mexico City, injuring an unknown number of people.

There was no official count of injuries from the crash in the city of Nopaltepec, but photos released by volunteer firefighters from the nearby city of San Martín de los Pyramides showed the charred and twisted remains of the truck on a road.

Nation World News Desk
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