For the second year in a row, Yucatan’s Catholic archdiocese is urging its faithful not to attend large events commemorating the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.
Although Yucatán was given a green light by health officials, authorities are being cautious. Mérida’s main center of worship dedicated to the Virgin, the Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in the San Cristóbal neighborhood, will limit access to 150 people at any one time on Dec. 11 and 12.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is a Catholic title of Mary, mother of Jesus, and venerated across Mexico.
The news comes as a great disappointment to Mexico’s Catholics. It was hoped that this year’s celebrations would resemble those of the pre-COVID-19 era.
Just as last year, ceremonies and festivities will be streamed online, starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, and through Dec 12, for the Gran Fiesta Guadalupana.
This is despite considerable improvement regarding the country’s infection rates, due in part to the federal government’s vaccination campaign.
Authorities argue that although infection rates have been on the decline, extreme caution is still required — especially given the appearance in neighboring countries of the Omicron variant.
Also canceled are the pilgrimages and processions to the Virgin’s main sanctuary, the Basilica de Guadalupe.
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Basilica de Guadalupe would host millions of worshipers. Many, traveling to the sanctuary on foot from just about every region of the country in search of a miracle, or to give thanks to answered prayers.
The Basilica de Guadalupe is home to a highly venerated image on a cloak enshrined within. According to the story, the cloak dates to the 16th century, and the images resulted from a miracle witnessed by an indigenous Mexican peasant named Juan Diego.