After Lourdes, Fatima, and Aparecida, it is the turn of the most important Marian shrine in the world, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, to be hit by major restrictions due to the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. For the first time, religious gatherings planned for the feast of the patron saint of Mexico have been canceled.
Mexican Catholics are very affected by this: there will be no liturgical celebration at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 11 and 12, 2020. Even the traditional manifestations of popular piety, which usually take place in the square of the Basilica, will be banned.
The news was made public on October 20, 2020, in a letter addressed to Mgr. Carlos Aguiar Retes, Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, by the Rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Fr. Salvador Martinez.
Every year, from December 9 to 12, on the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, some 10 million people invade the hill of Tepeyac, to venerate the patroness of the Americas. This is the number that was recorded on December 12, 2019.
The shrine receives around 20 million people a year, making it the most visited Catholic building in the world after the Vatican.
In this year 2020, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the people in charge of the Sanctuary, in agreement with Cardinal Aguiar Retes and the Conference of Bishops of Mexico, have requested to “relocate the celebration to parishes, neighborhoods, or with family.”
The left-wing government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) - which is not known to shine with its Marian devotion - did not hide its relief: thus, the Under-Secretary of State for Health, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, claimed that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was “undoubtedly a high risk event, as millions of people would be gathering on the plaza, which could be the occasion for a massive spread of the virus.”
A virus that is unlikely to be transmitted to the deceased in the coming days, since AMLO has also announced the closure of cemeteries during All Saints Day, in order to avoid the influx of the faithful.
(Sources : Fides/Mediotiempo – FSSPX.Actualités)
Illustration : Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons