MEXICO CITY – The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City began on Monday to receive the millions of believers who, every Dec. 12, come to thank the dark-skinned Virgin of Guadalupe for their successes in the year past and ask her for more in the coming year.
This basilica is the second most visited Catholic religious site in the world, only behind the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and on Wednesday it will once again welcome Catholics from every state of Mexico and many from abroad.
Many of the devotees are already around the building waiting for midnight on the 12th, when the celebrations begin with the traditional song of “Las Mananitas” and then will continue the whole morning and day with masses and acts in honor of the virgin.
Felix comes every year from Huejutla de Reyes, in the central state of Hidalgo, Mexico, together with his music band formed by family and friends, to “pray for the family, the band, sick people and all the people who need prayer,” the young man told EFE.
A group of women and men having arrived from Pachuca, the capital of Hidalgo, and Ecatepec, adjacent to Mexico City, offered food and drinks to passers-by a few meters away from the entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe.
“We will be here until we run out of food. For us, the first thing is to provide food,” a woman said while serving stew with rice to a long queue of pilgrims.
This week is one of the most important weeks for many Mexicans because it symbolizes gratitude and Catholic devotion, and also the reunion of many people.
“Here many cultures and many people meet based on a single objective: to pray for families,” said Felix, a young musician.
The belief in the Virgin of Guadalupe emerged in Mexico almost simultaneously with the apparitions of her on Dec. 9 and 12 in the year 1531 to the indigenous man Juan Diego, who was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.