Vatican City, May 6, 2021 / 07:00 am
Pope Francis sent a video message to Argentina Thursday ahead of the feast of Our Lady of Luján.
“I wish to be close to you … when all you bishops will gather to pray the rosary for the health of the Argentine people. I will accompany you from here,” Pope Francis said in the video published on May 6.
Our Lady of Luján is the patron saint of Argentina. Since 1630, the 14-inch terracotta statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been venerated by the Argentine people.
When Pope Francis served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he used to make frequent pilgrimages to the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján, where he would also hear confessions, according to Vatican News.
“Remember all that the Virgin has accomplished in your homeland. Let yourselves be accompanied by her, and accompany her in her journey,” the pope said in the message.
The feast of Our Lady of Luján, on May 8, commemorates how the icon first came to the city of Luján in the 17th century.
As a Portuguese ranch owner tried to take the statue from Buenos Aires via caravan to his ranch, the oxen pulling the statue’s cart stopped moving near the Luján river about 42 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.
After much failed coaxing, the ox-driver unloaded the image and found that the oxen moved again. The caravan took this as a sign that the Virgin Mary wanted the statue to be venerated at that place. Our Lady of Luján is now honored as the foundress of the city of Luján.