Basílica of Guadalupe is one of the top destinations in the world for Catholic pilgrims. The legend is that the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, a baptized Aztec Indian. She told him to go to the local bishop with her message that she wanted a church built. After being rejected several times by the bishop, Mary instructed him to go back to the hill to gather roses. It was winter and not a time for roses to bloom. When the bishop saw the beautiful fresh roses Diego carried in his cloak, it convinced the bishop. Imprinted on his cloak was her image. The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe is not like others. She is dark skinned and spoke in Juan Diego’s native tongue.
Today the Old Basilica and the New Basilica, built between 1975 - 1976 stand side by side. An estimated 20 million visitors come annually. I can imagine on the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12, how the plaza would be packed wall to wall with people.
The contrast between the Old and New Basilica are not just the size but the feeling of sacredness. Preferring the old design, I lingered and listened to the ongoing mass.
Even ignoring the commercial aspects of restaurants, food vendors and souvenir shops, one could easily spend several hours at the Basilica of Guadalupe. Today our stop served as an exploratory visit. It would be a worthwhile to make a return visit.
Aloha -- Cathi