Photo: Virgin of Juquila Arrives in LA
A replica of the image of the Virgin of Juquila, one of the most venerated in Mexico, is now in the Southern California city of Lynwood.
The new home of the image will be the chapel of the Plaza Mexico community center in Lynwood, a municipality in Los Angeles County.
The image left the Casa Refugio del Inmigrante Elvira in Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday.
The procession bearing the image northwards on Saturday crossed the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, was received in San Diego and on Sunday arrived in Lynwood.
Despite the rain, on Sunday hundreds of the faithful awaited the Virgin’s image to welcome her to her new home at Plaza Mexico.
“The Virgin is the best, and not only for me but for the whole community, and we’re very happy to have her here, now that she’s crossed the border and - as we say - faith has no borders,” Maurilio Bautista, the representative of the Committee of the Virgin of Juquila in Los Angeles, told Efe.
The organizer of the event emphasized the hope with which the image was welcomed by hundreds of the faithful, showing that “for this community so eager to see her it’s a blessing to have her here.”
The image is a replica of that which is venerated in the Santa Catarina de Juquila shrine in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, and her name comes from the Zapotec Indian word “xuhquililla,” which means “place of blue milkweed.”
The original image has been venerated since the 16th century and in 1633 a fire destroyed the town where it was kept, but the image itself was not harmed.
In the early 18th century, it was placed in the shrine where it currently resides.
Myriam Estrada, a devotee of the Virgin of Juquila whose son is a cancer survivor, was one of the people who on Sunday came to welcome the “Juquilita,” as many tenderly call the image.
“My son had leukemia and I promised to follow her and, because of faith, my son was cured, and that was six years ago,” Estrada told Efe by way of explaining her devotion to the Virgin’s image.
“I thank her so much that my son is cured,” she added.
The replica traveled more than 2,000 miles in its pilgrimage before it arrived at the chapel at Plaza Mexico, where it will be housed in a special niche, according to what Mario Cardenas, the general manager of the center and master of ceremonies at this year’s Juquila celebrations, told Efe.
Cardenas invited the public to attend the festivities, where food and drink will be offered free to the participants to avoid any profit-making activity associated with an event with a religious character.
He also emphasized that there will also be music at the celebration for “the Virgin of Juquila, which is one of the greatest symbols for our Oaxacan community.”