After a year-long hiatus in the pandemic, one of the world’s largest religious celebrations has returned – and more than 3.5 million people took the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Church of Guadalupe in Mexico, according to authorities.
A new aspect this year is that immigrants heading north to the United States are seeking asylum in the region.
The church, with its icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe, is the most visited Catholic shrine on the American continents.
We came from Nicaragua, says 46-year-old Annabel Manzanares, who wears a crown and a mask representing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
– I’ve dreamed of this for 46 years. “It is a great blessing to be here with the Mexican people,” she told Reuters news agency.
Mexicans and Catholics celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe annually on December 12. At about that time in 1531, according to Catholic beliefs, Our Lady must have revealed herself to the young Aztec Juan Diego. She asked him to make sure a church was built on the site, and to heal as a sign of goodwill for Juan Diego’s dying relative.
A small mausoleum was built, and since 1709 an impressive church has been erected on the site. Around it, Villa de Guadalupe was formed, a community that over time became a district in northern Mexico City (Ciudad de México). The area is a popular year-round destination, culminating in an anniversary in December.
Wanted to stay overnight
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum writes on twitter The total number of visitors to Guadalupe during the month is 3.5 million. A crew of 9,000 employees have been deployed to the city to monitor the festivities.
An unexpected aspect of the event was the caravans of immigrants that were formed recently in different parts of Mexico, with the aim of trying to reach the United States on foot. This caravan arrived in Mexico City this weekend, and tried to get to the Church of Guadalupe – according to some information, many wanted to spend the night there.
Marty Patrice, Shenbaum employee writes on twitter That the authorities always had a dialogue with immigrants. Those who wanted should have had the opportunity to pray on site even after the usual closing time, but other accommodations were set aside for overnight stays.
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