La Virgen de Guadalupe, patron saint of México
and all the Americas
Her feast day is December 12 and is always a huge event. This year, however, is different. The Los Angeles Times notes that in Mexico City:
"For weeks, church and civic authorities have been urging people to stay away from the storied shrine — erected alongside the hillside where, according to Catholic teaching, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to a peasant, Juan Diego, in 1531, just a decade after the Spanish conquest. The apparition and the central artifact of veneration — an image of the Virgin that is said to have been imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, which is now preserved and on view at the shrine via a moveable walkway — helped solidify Catholicism among Mexico’s indigenous masses."
"Bowing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic and civic leaders canceled this year’s celebrations, which usually draw up to 10 million fervent disciples, including many who travel long distances to give thanks and seek the protection of the patron saint of Mexico. Saturday was the actual feast day, but visitors began arriving weeks before, many camping along the route.
The shrine, the most visited Roman Catholic site in the Americas — and second in the world only to the Vatican — was closed from Thursday through Sunday. A massive security deployment sealed off nearby streets. The basilica’s environs took on a ghost-town appearance except for the overwhelming police presence.
The shutdown came as Mexico is experiencing an alarming spike in coronavirus cases. Mexico City, home to almost 9 million people, is at the epicenter. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum warned Friday of a COVID-19 emergency and issued an urgent appeal for people to stay home."