Mexican Pilgrims Urged to Be Promoters of Peace

90,000 Join Queretaro’s Guadalupana Pilgrimage

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MEXICO CITY, JULY 19, 2010 ( The approximately 90,000 pilgrims who arrived to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe over the weekend were encouraged to return home as «promoters of peace.»

The pilgrims represented the Diocese of Queretaro, which has led a pilgrimage to the nation’s most popular Marian shrine each year for the past 120 years. It is the second largest annual event at the basilica, after Dec. 12, when millions arrive to celebrate the anniversary of the Marian apparitions in 1531 to St. Juan Diego.
The trajectory from Queretaro to the basilica (approximately 142 miles) was followed by 18,000 women and 30,000 men. The pilgrims began to arrive in the esplanade of the basilica at 5 a.m. and the Mass, presided over by bishop Mario de Gasperin of Queretaro, took place at 1 p.m.
During the homily, Bishop De Gasperin highlighted the end of the faithful’s pilgrimage and invited them to be pleased with themselves for fulfilling the objective of their Christian walk.
«We have come to the end of our pilgrimage, but not to the end of our walking toward the House of the Father,» he said. «Here, in the house of our Most Blessed Mother, we make a pause, we look at her image and let her eyes look at us; without a doubt we experience the caress of her hands which heal our wounds.»
The bishop added that Catholics have contributed to making «all Mexicans have in Christ, our peace, a life worthy» of children of God.
For his part, Msgr. Diego Monroy Ponce, rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe, encouraged the pilgrims to imitate the actions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, primarily in the aspect of hospitality, and to help persons in need.
«Let us imitate our maiden and Mother Holy Mary of Guadalupe, teacher of hospitality on receiving in her womb the Son of God, so that with her help we will open ourselves to God in the persons of those who need us,» he said.

He also invited the pilgrims to note how much «violence, insecurity, extortion, kidnappings, robberies, injustices, corruption, and nonsense [takes place] all over the country, how much blood is spilled all over.»

He urged those present to return to their communities as «promoters of peace,» and to counteract the culture of death and the «terrible» violence that afflicts the nation.

The majority of violence that exists in Mexico is attributed to the drug war in the country, which has left 7,048 dead so far this year, and 25,000 since 2006 when President Felipe Calderón began to crack down on drug violence.

Only last Thursday, a cartel in Juarez carried out the first successful drug-related car bombing, which left four dead, including a doctor and two federal policemen. On Sunday in the northern city of Torreón, gunmen opened fire on a birthday party and killed 18.

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