Annual pilgrimage in honor of Mexico’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe (file photo)  (AFP or licensors)

By James Blears

Nov 26 2020

The Church and the Government of Mexico City, have combined to cancel the popular annual Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Capitol, to protect the faithful from the increasingly encroaching Pandemic.

The Virgin of Guadalupe Festival, is on December 12th each and every year. It draws tens of thousands of pilgrims who converge here from all over the city, from throughout the country and also from all over the World, to honor and cherish the Patron Saint of Mexico.

The event culminates at the huge modern Basilica, built right next to the old traditional heavy set colonial style building, which is slowly tilting, and sinking into the soft sub strata lakebed, which makes Mexico City so prone and susceptible to earthquakes.  Many pilgrims painstakingly travel long distances on their knees,  as a sign of devotion and asking for forgiveness for sins, via this penitence.

However this year, mindful of the Covid 19 Pandemic, which has killed more than one hundred thousand people in Mexico and infected more than a million, Mexico`s Bishops Conference and the Administration of Mexico City, has decided the event must be moved Online. In an official statement, the Bishops Conference explains: “The health situation that Mexico is experiencing due to Covid 19, doesn`t allow us, at this time, to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe Ceremony, at her shrine.” 

The closure will span December 10th to 13th, and just to make sure this will be observed, a security barrier is being built to insure strict compliance, although this will be a huge disappointment to many who annually and devotedly  make the traditional pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, dates back to five apparitions which happened in 1531, and an image of the cloak is located in the Basilica, which is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the World.  The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, speaking to him in his indigenous Nahuatl language, asking him to build a church to her on this site.  Pope Leo the tenth, granted the image at a Coronation on October 12th 1895. – Vatican News