Guadalupe sanctuary in Merida will be quiet on the Day of the Virgin

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The Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe attracts the faithful on the Day of the Virgin in 2018. Photo: Facebook

As the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe approaches, the Archdiocese of Yucatán has called off the festivities that normally attract thousands to a sanctuary dedicated to Mexico’s patron saint.

It will be a strange time during one of the most holy days on the Catholic calendar.

Church doors at the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, on Calle 50 at 69 in the San Cristóbal neighborhood, will be locked Dec. 11 and 12, and the street surrounding it will be blocked off, to avoid crowds that spread coronavirus.

From miles around, thousands make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin each year. In 2020, ceremonies and festivities will be streamed online, starting 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 and through Dec 12, for the Gran Fiesta Guadalupana.

Expressing adoration for the Virgin, traditional mañanitas are performed and a mass welcomes long-distance torch runners, normally a common sight around now. Women are dressed in traditional Yucatecan attire. Music plays, fireworks are launched and church bells toll, and the entire San Cristóbal neighborhood is energized with processions, music and banners — in a normal year.

But since October, the archdiocese has issued warnings about the festival and pilgrimages, requesting the families worship together at home on the feast day. They are also discouraged from inviting guests, including clergy.

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