More than 134,000 pilgrims came this past weekend to the village of Villa de la Quebrada in the Diocese of San Luis in central Argentina to bring their intentions and fulfill their promises to Christ, whose renowned image is venerated there.

According to local tradition, in the mid-1800s a landowner named Tomás Alcaráz went to cut a tree for lumber to build a house for one of his children. When he struck the tree with an ax, a hollow within it was uncovered and inside there was a wooden crucifix. No one in the area recalled placing a crucifix in the hollow of a growing tree and the growth of the tree around it did not harm the crucifix.

Amazed at his find, Alcaráz set up a home altar with candles to venerate the image. Soon after, however, the crucifix was gone; no one in the family had moved it, and it was found again in the hollow of the tree. This was taken as a sign to build a church there to house the image, which was done, and the church with the image became a pilgrimage site.

In the 1940s, the bishop of San Luis, Emilio Antonio di Pasquo, commissioned life-size Stations of the Cross made of Carrara marble, which were sculpted in Italy and transported to the Villa de La Quebrada.

Many of the faithful came on foot from the city of San Luis, 25 miles from Villa de la Quebrada, walking along the “Pilgrim’s Way.”

The event included a large security operation and first aid stations for the pilgrims, who began to arrive on April 28.

On May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, a procession was held through the streets of Villa de la Quebrada in homage to the saint with the participation of inhabitants from all over the province and from nearby places.

In a statement to the “El Diario” newspaper, the bishop of San Luis, Gabriel Barba, emphasized the devotion to the Christ of the Quebrada and to the Divine Lord of Renca, another devotion in San Luis province involving a wooden figure of Christ.

“We have two great protectors who are the same Jesus with two different titles. The town of San Luis profoundly understands this devotion to Jesus and comes to fulfill the promises, to renew hope,” he said.

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“Our function is to listen to everything and bring it to the feet of Christ accompanied by faith and devotion. San Luis is a very believing, very religious people,” he noted. The bishop invited the faithful to “live the faith with joy and transmit it to the new generations.”

The activities will continue until May 3, the principal day of the festival. At 3 p.m. Barba will offer a Mass and there will be a procession through the streets in honor of the holy image of Christ.

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