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Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

One of our most popular sites to visit on pilgrimage here in Mexico, is of course the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Here we share a little of the history of this beautiful Basilica.

In 1531 Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego speaking in his native Aztec language, asking him to go to the head of the church in Mexico to ask that a church be built in the spot where she appeared to him. After facing rejection and many tests, he went to the top of Tepeyac Hill where he found his sign — some beautiful roses growing in an otherwise barren spot. He is said to have picked the beautiful roses to bring back to the Virgin Mary, who then arranged them inside his cloak. When Juan Diego returned to present the roses to the bishop & tell him of Mary’s apparition, a miracle occurred — the Virgin Mary’s image had appeared on the cloak. The bishop was convinced by the miracle & commissioned a church to be constructed as asked. Juan Diego’s cloak was placed above the altar, where it remains for all to see to this day. Juan Diego was himself canonized in 2002, making him the first indigenous American saint.

A simple shrine was built in the location in 1532, soon becoming a pilgrimage site as news of the miracle travelled far and wide. After that, a new shrine was erected in 1622, followed by a more elaborate one in 1709 (which was designated a basilica in 1904). That church soon became inadequate for the number of people who came to visit the shrine, and so the current basilica as it stands today was then built in the mid 1970s in order to accommodate the pilgrims.

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Spanish) is now the patron saint of Mexico and it’s easy to see that the Mexican people are highly devoted to her. It is not rare to see her serene face looking down from pictures, candles or shrines in people’s homes, restaurants and establishments here. For many, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a source of strength, protection and encouragement to remain faithful throughout the trials and hardships that life often presents.

Nowadays, the Basilica of Guadalupe has become a huge, beautiful, yet serene Catholic shrine devoted to Our Lady on Tepeyac Hill in the heart of Mexico City.

It is the most visited Marian pilgrimage locale in the world and arguably the only place we can still see the physical evidence of an apparition of our Blessed Mother. Over twenty million faithful visit the Basilica every year, making it the second most visited church in the world, after St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and although the Basilica is visited by pilgrims from around the world year-round, December 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe marks a special occasion where thousands of pilgrims flock to pray to the Virgin and take part in the incredible traditions and festivities.

Did you know?

  • The basilica's circular floor-plan was designed to allow views of the Virgin from any spot inside the building.
  • The central column is an impressive 42 meters high and the whole building is guarded against sinking (like the older Basilica) by a huge pylon that’s built into the structure.
  • The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) hangs above the main altar with moving walkways below transporting visitors back and forth under the image, so everyone may get to admire it equally.
  • The roof’s design symbolizes the Virgin Mary’s mantle, protecting the faithful inside the Basilica.
  • The Basilica has sitting space for 10,000 people. When needed, from the exterior Chapel on the second floor of the basilica, masses are held where up to 50,000 people in the atrium can take part in the Mass and other ritual celebrations.

Masses are celebrated in the Basilica every hour from 6:00 AM to 8:00PM.

Confessions are heard every day of the year in the Basilica, continuously from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

If you wish to visit this incredible Basilica in the heart of Mexico, get in touch with the experts at Tours Peregrinos Mexico to start making arrangements for your group now!

We speak several languages, so there’ll always be someone available to answer your questions & help you plan your pilgrimage of a lifetime.

Traditions and Festivities
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 16:07