Pilgrims celebrate the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Pilgrims celebrate the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City 

Exuberant celebrations for Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico

As parties and fireworks for the feast continue long into the night in Mexico City, Pope Francis reminds Catholics of the indigenous origins of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By James Blears and Joseph Tulloch

It’s taken two years to overcome the ravages of the pandemic, but pilgrims have now finally observed the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City without any restrictions.

Meanwhile, at a Mass in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica to mark the occasion, Pope Francis warned of the dangers of outsiders appropriating the feast, ignoring that it has roots in indigenous culture.

Return to pre-pandemic celebrations

In Mexico City, the huge area outside the Basilica of Guadalupe became a tent city, festooned with sleeping bags, as the faithful from all over Mexico came to observe and celebrate the country’s most important religious ceremony.

Mons. Salvador Martinez, Rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe, said: "Thank God we've recovered normality."

During the last several days it’s estimated that more than three million people have made the pilgrimage and breathed a clear, clean sigh of relief after dire times.

All around Mexico City, parties and ear spitting rapports from powerful fireworks continued long into the night, celebrating Mexico's patron saint.

The indigenous origins of the feast

Meanwhile, at Mass in the Vatican on Monday evening, Pope Francis recalled that the celebration has roots in Our Lady's encounter with San Juan Diego, an indigenous farmer. 

"I am concerned about ideological and cultural proposals of various kinds that want to appropriate the encounter of a people with their Mother, that want to de-mesticise and disguise the Mother," he said. 

This message, the Pope explained, "is simple, it is tender: Am I not here, I who am your mother?"

"The Mother should not be ideologised," he concluded. 

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13 December 2022, 12:30