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America’s Largest Gathering of Roman Catholic Pilgrims Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe Visit Des Plaines Shrine – NBC Chicago

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On Monday morning, crowds continued to line Des Plaines — some by car and bus, others by bike or on foot — to visit and honor the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe as part of an annual Roman Catholic tradition. .

According to organizers, the two-day celebration, which began in suburban Chicago in the late 2000s, is the nation’s largest gathering of Roman Catholic pilgrims honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. The 800-pound replica of the original shrine, brought to the city in 1996, is the first of its kind placed outside of Mexico.

The original shrine in Mexico City is one of the most visited holy sites in the world.

From Sunday evening to Monday evening, around 200,000 people are expected to make the trip to Des Plaines and pay homage to the Virgin Mary; the fulfillment of a promise they made to make the sometimes long journey to the shrine to ask for health, family blessings, employment – ​​or simply to thank her for what they have.

Sunday evening, Homero Trujillo and his friend walked four hours from the Palatine to visit the sanctuary. Along the way, he carried an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to offer thanks and prayers.

“We didn’t even feel the step,” Trujillo said of the 10+ mile ride. “And what I can say is, when you come in faith, you don’t feel anything. My whole family, we’ve trusted in her, since I was a little kid.”

Trujillo was one of thousands who visited on Sunday evening and at 11 p.m. he took part in the singing of “Las Mañanitas”, a traditional serenade to the Virgin of Guadalupe, sung in English and Spanish.

From there, many stayed for Midnight Mass, presided over by Cardinal Blase Cupich and other clergy.

“The world is going through some things right now,” said Sunday night visitor Shannon Abrams. “And that brings a sense of togetherness, but also, I’m going through some things our family is going through some things, there’s a lot of changes in our lives on the horizon and to get to a place where everyone’s celebrating the same thing things. It’s, it’s beautiful. It’s good to be part of it.

While many turned up on Sunday, photos and videos from Monday morning show throngs of people already lining up to lay flowers and candles on the altar of the beloved shrine.

“They are here to see the Virgin Mary, they are here to see, to give their love, their support, to ask for a blessing, to ask for a miracle,” explained the Very Reverend Esequiel Sanchez, who watches over the shrine. .

“When you see people walking on their knees, people are walking for miles in Chicago. Well, that’s no joke,” he said. “They mean that, you know, they really, there’s something in the hearts of our people that really needs to be spoken.”

As crowds are expected to gather at the shrine throughout the day for events, the celebration’s closing mass is on Monday at 7 p.m.

“That we have someone to turn to when we have problems and ask for help,” said a Des Plaines resident early Monday, who has been visiting the sanctuary since 2018. “It took explaining, but it means just a lot.”

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NBC Chicago

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