Bishop walks on his knees to bid farewell to Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos in Mexico

OurLadyofSanJuan A procession of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos in Mexico. | Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Archive of the Cathedral of San Juan de los Lagos

In a farewell gesture to Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos and his now former diocese, Bishop Jorge Alberto Cavazos Arizpe on June 28 walked on his knees from the back of the diocesan basilica to the altar where her miraculous image is kept.

Cavazos headed the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos for six years and was recently appointed Archbishop of San Luis Potosí, succeeding Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero Romero, who last year turned 75, the age at which all bishops must submit their resignation to the Holy Father.

Cavazos will be installed as the Archbishop of San Luis Potosí July 1. 

The miraculous image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos is kept in the cathedral basilica of San Juan de los Lagos, the second most visited Marian shrine in Mexico.

According to local accounts, Our Lady, as represented by the image, has worked several miracles over the centuries. 

The first miracle occurred in 1623 when the statue was brought out from the sacristy, where it had been stored away for 80 years due to its poor condition, and placed on the chest of a young girl who had been killed during an acrobatic performance. The girl came back to life, unharmed.

The YouTube channel Médico Historiador (Doctor Historian) by Dr. Everardo López Padilla, who is in charge of the cathedral’s Historical Archive, said Cavazos, “when bidding farewell to Our Blessed Mother of San Juan, wanted to do it like the pilgrims: on his knees.”

“He entered at the cathedral’s front [doors], and covered almost 60 meters (195 feet) on his knees with his eyes fixed on the beloved Virgin of San Juan, ‘la Cihualpilli,’” meaning “the Great Lady” in the local language.

When visiting San Juan de los Lagos on May 8, 1990, Pope John Paul II called the image the “one who was brought back to life (from oblivion in the sacristy) and who brought back life,” (“la resucitada y resucitadora” or “the resurrected and resurrecting”).

Among other important decisions he made during his tenure as bishop in San Juan de los Lagos, Cavazos determined that the Day for the Respect, Promotion, and Care of Life be celebrated on the 25th of each month.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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