Though I was raised Catholic, I’ve long since lapsed, so I can’t claim it was my faith that led me to the Basilica of Guadalupe on the eve of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day. Six to seven million people were expected to participate in the Feast Day observance in Mexico City.
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1. Almost everyone who arrives for the Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe comes bearing an image of her-- a statue the size of a small child, a medallion held in the palm of the hand, a framed painting...

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2. or as a personal adornment.

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3. Those who arrive without an image, or without other accessories, such as candles....

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4. or other religious objects, can buy them from one of the hundreds of vendors along the route.

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5. Regardless of her form, the Virgin must be protected and carried with care. Here, she's strapped to a backpack...

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6. and here, she's carried inside a jacket.

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7. Many of the devotees come on foot or by bicycle from towns that are far from the Basilica in Mexico City. Some, however, make at least part of the route on their knees.

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8. The man in this photo knelt on the ground so he could make the final approach to the Basilica on his knees. Within seconds, his children joined him.

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9.Upon arriving at the Basilica, many devotees stop to pray.

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10. Priests and priests-in-training perform many important functions leading up to the Feast Day celebration, including blessing the crowd.

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11. Priests also welcome those who have made the long pilgrimage, often bearing altars and statues on their shoulders.