I have visited several major catholic sites, but this visit to the Villa de Guadalupe in Mexico City was a powerfully spiritual and emotional experience I hope to remember. So I write in the off chance four or five of you find this interesting. I also thank to girl on my Teotihuacan tour for recommending this site, as there was some chance I wasn't going to make it.
Upon first entering the complex of the Villa, I headed into the modern basilica where a mass was being held. A hope pervaded the room, and that emotion seemed to hit me hard. The choir sang along to a rumbling organ (that and tired feed are probably what drew me in) as worshipers waited for the meeting to begin. While there were lots of cameras and selfies going off, I found this more a sign of gladness than irreverence.
Inside the Modern Basilica. This building, while ornate by some standards, is plain compared to most cathedrals and temples of its size and attendance. Yet the way its design draws attention to the mass from all angles makes it something special.
Finding this a comfortable place to take a rest, I continued to sit, as more and more of the church's leadership filled the room until a full security detail also began to enter with whom I can only guess are among the top local leadership of the church. During the meeting, a letter was read to whom I believed was the new head of this basilica. Though, combing news articles, it would appear that Glennie Graue has already presided here for 5 years, and in January was assigned 5 more years.
I continued on to visit the numerous chapels and churches on this vast campus. Given the atmosphere and the sites, I can see why this is the top catholic pilgrimage site in the world.
I show some of my pictures below along with some information about the buildings, which I hope you'll enjoy. You can see all photos at my Google Plus Album.
This building is called el "Temple Expiatorio a Cristo Rey," or the Old Basilica. The building was consecrated in 1709. Even on high ground, the buildings in Mexico City have their way of "settling in."
Here's a fellow some of my California friends may have heard of, Junipero Serra.
This building is the Templo de El Pocito. Here's a link to information about it if you really want to practice your Spanish.
Some of the beautiful landscapes at the complex
The Capilla del Cerrito sits atop the Villa complex. It is said to be the site where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. This shrine is the destination for many Catholic pilgrims.
View of Mexico City from el cerrito