Thousands of nationals and foreigners participated between August 1 and 2 in massive pilgrimages to celebrate the day of the Virgin of the Angels, declared patron saint of Costa Rica since 1824.
Religious activity had been suspended for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it was resumed with the corresponding security measures, according to the priests.
In the pilgrimage, parishioners traditionally walk from San José to the Basilica de los Ángeles, in Cartago, a province located about 20 kilometers from the Costa Rican capital.
Ángela Monge, a citizen of Cartago, attended the pilgrimage excited, after staying at home since 2020, when the first cases of coronavirus were reported.
“We ask the virgin for the economic situation in the country and also for the end of the Russian war in Ukraine that is affecting the economy worldwide,” Monge told the Voice of America.
Monge traditionally went to the Basilica of Los Angeles with his family, but with the current context in which the cases of COVID-19 have relaxed, they have maintained certain protection measures.
“We were used to making a pilgrimage, and the pandemic suspended it, so taking care of ourselves, we came,” said the woman who went to the basilica with her daughter and grandson.
The priest Michel Boniface, originally from Guatemala, was also present at the activity and stressed that “he managed to see a great joy” among the parishioners who attended the place.
Boniface called for prayers for heads of state, bishops and those who lead nations.
“It is a great joy to be here, there are places where God pours out his blessings in abundance, there are places of pilgrimage where God manifests himself and today we are happy to be here again. We pray for the family and the sins”, the religious indicated to the VOA.
Among the parishioners was also the group of Missionaries of Charity, of the Maria Teresa de Calcutta Order, who were expelled from Nicaragua a little less than a month ago.
Sister Celia, one of the 18 expelled from Nicaragua, told the local Costa Rican newspaper La Nación that they experienced a tense moment prior to her expulsion from the country.
“They attacked us, because they called us all the time, they changed our exit, they prohibited us from working days before, where according to them we were not complying. Everything works for the good of one, God has a purpose through this, but we are very clear that we have not done anything, neither against the Government, nor against anyone”, Sister Celia told The nation.
According to Costa Rican media, some 2.5 million pilgrims were expected to receive the Pilgrimage 2022, so local institutions made a call to wear masks properly, and to maintain hand washing.
The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, was not present at the celebration mass in honor of the Virgin of the Angels after being informed that suffered from influenza AH1N1.