(QCOSTARICA) Every year, on August 2, hundreds of thousands in Costa Rica descend on Cartago, the home of the Virgen de los Ángeles (patron saint of Costa Rica) known as “La Negrita”.
This celebration takes place at the Basilica de Los Angeles Basilica in Cartago, the faithful making the “romeria” – Pilgrimage of the Virgen de los Ángeles – on foot from every corner of the country, to appear before La Negrita to thank or request her intercession.
This year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, t the. st in 2009
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has suspended many activities, including the romeria. It is the second time in the last 238 years since the walk to Cartago was made official; The last in 2009 due to the AH1N1 pandemic.
This year, the traditional pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Angels will take place virtually, announced by the Costa Rican episcopate through a statement.
José Francisco Arias Salguero, rector of the Los Angeles Basilica, launched a powerful message to the faithful “not to do pilgrimage”, however, the message doesn’t seem to have been heard, as this Saturday there was a large influx of people walking to the Basilica, disrespecting the Church’s call to stay home.
“We want to appeal to the conscience of all of you so that, following the guidelines given by health authorities, not to expose ourselves. In this context, let’s not go out to do the romeria. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been asked to stay home if it is not strictly necessary to go out due to work or an emergency,” reflected Arias Salguero.
The representative of the clergy also clarified that the sink and the “pileta” and the “la piedra” are closed as part of the measures that the Ministry of Health dictated on May 13.
“Let’s not leave our houses to undertake the traditional pilgrimage that we did in other years. This year, let us offer (request to the Virgen) from our home that spiritual union of being able to live from there the encounter with the Lord Jesus through the Blessed Mary,” he added.
Despite that the Catholic Church suspended the romeria this year, making the announcement on May 13, this Saturday groups of people were seen making the walk to Cartago.
Mario Redondo, the mayor of Cartago, stated that in the Municipality they are “very concerned” and that they have already contacted the rector.
Redondo indicated that they are making a respectful call to the people not to travel to Cartago in the days leading up to August 2.
“The Basilica is closed. We are respectfully asking people to please understand and not come to Cartago. It is for health issues,” said Redondo.
Through the web page www.romeriavirtual2020.com the faithful will be able to participate in the pilgrimage and make a request to the Virgin. In addition, the platform will offer a series of exercise routines that are equivalent to kilometers walked, so that participants can “make their sacrifice”.
“If there is a year in which we need La Negrita, this is it and why everyone is invited to show how Faith Moves Forward in the 2020 edition of Romería Virtual (Virtual Pilgrimage),” concluded the message from the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica.