Thousands of pilgrims began to arrive Esquipulas, Chiquimula, On this Friday the 14th of January, the veneration of Saturday the 15th of January, black christ, in a tradition that brings together thousands of Catholics from all over Guatemala, from the rest Central America and Mexico And that is in 2022 amid a rebound in coronavirus cases due to omicron variables.
With flowers, candles, traditional hats and incense, thousands of Catholics make long lines to participate in mass or venerate black christ picture whose photo celebrates the 428th anniversary of its relocation to that place, activities that were not carried out last year due to the pandemic; However, the church opened its doors this year, but to enter, strict biosecurity protocols must be adhered to.
It was reported that of the 12,000 people the basilica can accommodate, this year only 425 people are allowed to sit on benches, divided four into four.
The priest commented, “For the Church, to return to normal life little by little means to live our faith again, come together again, and celebrate Christ again.” Edgar Martinez Solis, in charge of the protocol for the care of pilgrims in the Basilica of Esquipulas.
“The opening of the church doors on January 15 means that the church welcomes everyone. The church is our mother, and we are from the same family, so Christ Himself invites us to enter the church, meet, meet and especially in the church. Esquipulas Sanctuary which was the center of all pilgrimages in Central America,” Martinez added.
A midnight mass is scheduled, although it is known that church authorities are asking believers to follow it on social media, to avoid crowding in the temple.
The people of the Mayan Qigji tribe in the village Plan Grande, Quehueche, Livingston, Izabal, They traveled to Esquipulas to donate a picture of the nearly three-meter-tall black Christ, as they asserted that he was the patron saint of their town and that, as in Esquipulas, they also celebrated him every January 15th.
They walked and sailed about 45 minutes and traveled another six hours by bus to take the picture to the church.
“We walked, sailed and traveled more than 325 kilometers,” he said. Pedro Teni, a member of the Mayan Q’eqchi community in the village of Plan Grande, Quehueche, Lívingston, Izabal, Who added that 80 people make up the pilgrimage.
Inocencio Mendes Lopez, a pilgrim traveled from San Sebastian Abasolo, Oaxaca, Mexico, He commented that he had left his hometown with his family three days earlier to worship the Black Christ of Esquipulas.
Remember, this is the second time you’re visiting Esquipulas And that this time it seeks to inculcate this tradition in the new generations.
He added that the pilgrimage he arrived at consists of 35 people, who bring candles and flowers as sacrifices and demand health for all.
settlers La Tinta, Alta Verapaz, According to Marvin Alberto Chull, they also came to the Esquipulas, who came to ask for the blessing of the family, as they do every year.
Jorge Mario Lara, coming from Puerto Barrios, Izabal, He said he came on behalf of several neighbors who could not travel, but thanks to his support they raised money to buy flower arrangements.
He added that they have been performing Hajj for 20 years, completing it after traveling for at least five hours. He added that the opening of the basilica was the result of “the miracle of the master of Esquipulas”.
Alert in orange
Esquipulas is currently on orange epidemic alert and according to data from Ministry of Health, The municipality records 2000 31 cases covid-19, At a rate of 3 thousand 644.8 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. In addition, 45 deaths are reported
Last January 12, Odelia Ramos, interim coordinator of Esquipulas Health District, She reported the first case of the omicron variant and asked the population not to lower their guard and increase prevention measures, given how infectious this strain is typically.
With a population of 55,723 people, 67.3% are vaccinated with a single dose, and according to health, this is equivalent to 28,126 people.
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