Popular Mission Began in Mexico, Covered 14,800 Miles

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BUENOS AIRES, DEC. 6, 2000 (
An eight-year pilgrimage of two revered images will end this week with a festival in the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, Argentina.

The pilgrimage, made on foot, with the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Black Christ of Esquipulas, has been on a mission in 19 countries in South America. It began in Mexico on Dec. 12, 1992 — feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe — and traveled a total of 24,000 kilometers (14,800 miles).

On Saturday, Archbishop Estanislao Karlic of Parana, president of the Argentine bishops´ conference, will preside over a Mass in the Lujan shrine. There will be an artistic festival in the evening, and at daybreak there will be a prayer vigil, which will include 1,300 notebooks of petitions, prayers and songs written over the eight years of pilgrimage.

The following day, the images of Christ of Esquipulas and the Virgin of Guadalupe will be placed on the altar of the Sacred Heart in the Basilica of Lujan, where they will remain.

The continental pilgrimage was made by a group of priests, nuns and lay people, who undertook the mission to carry the Marian image, the Bible, and flags of Latin American and Caribbean nations to promote unity in this continent.

Organizers said the pilgrimage went to 2,920 cities, towns and villages. The image of Our Lady went to prisons, hospitals, emergency villages, slums and conflict areas.

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