Cartago (Fides Service) - In view of the many attacks on human life in the world today from which Costa Rica is not exempt, in keeping with reflections by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference on the value of human life and in the context of the Year of the Eucharist, ‘Gift of Life, Gift of God’ is the theme of the national annual pilgrimage on August 1 which draws thousands of people to lace their boots for the walk to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Angels, patron of Costa Rica.
In a pastoral letter for the occasion “Walking with Mary towards Life” Bishop José Francisco Ulloa Rojas of Cartago, also President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica, said he is confident that the Blessed Virgin May, honoured with the title Our Lady of the Angels, patron of Costa Rica, will lead the country along paths which lead to true life and that the local popular saying “pure life” may always be a reality in Costa Rica and an example for others.
The slogan of the pilgrimage is “Enlazados en favor de la vida. Peregrinando decimos SI a la Vida” (Enlaced for life. With our pilgrimage we want to say YES to Life). The pilgrimage is always prepared with special initiatives but it is mainly with prayer that Costa Ricans prepare for this great event of faith and festivity. The pilgrimage poster explains the theme chosen: the L in the word ENLACED is a looped shoe-lace with its ends in two shoes in the act of walking: this stands for unity and fraternity in the search for a common goal. Walking means being openminded. The pilgrimage is “walking” in the light of the faith to find the meaning of our own life and grow in respect for the life of others, in the awareness that God is present in every human person. In the months of July and August Costa Ricans, deeply devoted to Our Lady of the Angels, always look towards the Shrine.
In preparation for the pilgrimage the Bishops’ Conference distributes a special handbook for the triduum 29,30 and 31 July with a different theme for each day accompanied by suitable biblical texts and Church teaching and a brief reflection on the various ways in which life is attacked and how it can be defended and protected. The theme for Day 1: “Mary Mother of the One who is the Bread of Life”, Reflection: violence in the family; theme for day 2 “The Word was made flesh” reflection: the tragedy of abortion; Sunday 31 July theme “We are one Body, because we share One Bread” reflection: different types of violence. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 29/7/2005 - Righe 31, Parole 452)