BOGOTA – The image of the Fallen Lord of Monserrate began on Sunday a pilgrimage around Bogota from the Primatial Cathedral to unite followers in prayer and to ask for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the country with 376,870 confirmed cases and 12,540 deaths.
The archbishop of Bogota, Jose Luis Rueda, said the image which is usually in the church on Monserrate Hill, in the eastern mountains of the city, will be taken to the different basilicas of the Colombian capital for a week.
The tour includes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Soacha, the Diocese of Fontibon, the cathedral of the Engativa neighborhood, and the Military Cathedral in the North Canton, and the image will return to Bogota’s Primatial Cathedral on Aug. 16.
“It will be a special message to renew his life, his faith, to strengthen himself in the encounter with the Lord who has told us: ‘I am with you every day until the end of the world,’” said Monsignor Rueda.
This is the seventh time that the image has left the Monserrate Hill, which is known as the guardian mountain of Bogota and has been a place of pilgrimage since colonial times.
The sanctuary, whose construction was completed in 1920, rises in the same place that occupied a hermitage and a monastery of the Carthusian monks at the beginning of the 17th century.
The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Bogota, Monsignor Manuel Salamanca Montilla, told EFE that “the people of Bogota have always shown a very deep devotion to the Fallen Lord of Monserrate and that thousands and thousands of Colombians have come to this image in moments of anguish and pain.”
As the temples are closed due to the restrictions decreed by the authorities to contain coronavirus infections, the pilgrimage will be broadcast through the Cristovision channel and social networks because, as Monsignor Salamanca emphasized, “taking care of life and avoiding any crowding” is what they need to do.
The image of the Fallen Lord of Monserrate weighs about 150 kilograms. It is made of wood and molten metal and is the work of the sculptor Pedro de Lugo y Albarracin, who lived in Bogota around 1660.
The first time that the image was taken down from the Monserrate Hill was in 1916 due to a drought that resulted in hunger and poverty at that time. Another was on June 10, 1952 when people prayed for peace in the country, the same as in 1998.
In this century, the image was taken down the hill twice: in 2009, during Holy Week due to the impossibility of accessing the hill because of the danger of landslides, and in 2014 for the celebration of 450 years of the Archdiocese of Bogota.