Thousands of pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of St. Cajetan in the Buenos Aires suburb of Liniers to pray to the patron of Divine Providence for their needs and to thank him for blessings received during the year.
At midnight on August 7, the bells of the Shrine were rung, fireworks were set off, and the national anthem was sung as Auxiliary Bishop Raul Martin of Buenos Aires opened the doors of the Shrine.
Many of those waiting to enter had camped out for more than one month in order to be the first in line. 64 year-old Delia Noris Lencina was the first to enter, continuing her annual tradition of crawling on her knees from the door to the altar in a sign of penance and prayer. She was followed by a group of handicapped.
During the main Mass of the day at 11am, the celebrant, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio told those gathered, “We pray to St. Cajetan for peace and the recognition of our dignity and our work. The focus of the theme is dignity, a word that the speak with veneration, because it is a beautiful word, a word of absolute value.”
The vigil was marked with prayerful music and popular hymns. Over one million people were expected to visit the Shrine for the feast.