Nearly 2 million pilgrims visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City

Almost 2 million pilgrims visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City between Dec. 1 and her Solemnity on Dec. 12, the Mexico City government reported.

The exact number to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe during that period was 1,929,115 visitors.

As part of the “Welcome Pilgrim” operation, coordinated by the authorities, more than 9,000 civil servants from Mexico City were deployed, including police, rescuer workers, medical emergency units, firefighters, and others.

The Archbishop Primate of Mexico, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, offered the traditional Mass of the Roses in the basilica at noon Dec.12  

The cardinal said in his homily that "Mary is the Mother of the Church, Our Mother” and that "she has wanted to continue expressing her love, as Mother of the Church, which is why she came to Mexico, to seek us out in order to express her love to all of her children."

Unlike 2020, this year pilgrims were once again allowed to enter the basilica and health safety precautions were observed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Among the measures coordinated between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities were the required use of masks and that spending the night in the area surrounding the Marian shrine was prohibited.

The traditional "Mañanitas,” a well-known Mexican song to the Virgin of Guadalupe, was not performed in person with the faithful, but was pre-recorded and shown on social media.

For the celebration of the midnight Mass, the basilica encouraged the faithful to send photographs and candles to symbolize their presence in the church.

The Archdiocese of Mexico said that more than 1,400 photos and more than 1,400 candles were placed in the shrine.

The solemnity commemorates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Catholicism, in 1531.

Our Lady of Guadalupe made a request for a church to be built on the site where she appeared on Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City.

As a sign for the bishop, she left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on his tilma, a poor quality cactus cloth. The tilma should have deteriorated within a few decades, yet it shows no sign of decay after over 490 years. To this day it defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

The apparition and its miraculous Marian image led to mass conversions of native American communities to Catholicism.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Marian shrine in the world. The annual number of visitors to the basilica is second only to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

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