Guatemala City (Fides Service) – A special pilgrimage of Sacred Images in preparation for the Second American Mission Congress has arrived in Guatemala, where the Congress will take place. Since November 2002 images of the Crucified Christ of Esquipulas and Our Lady of Guadalupe have been carried across central America in pilgrimage to encourage the communities of Central America to build the Kingdom of God through evangelisation, to strengthen the Christian experience in the local Holy Year of Mission and to pray for a fruitful CAM 2 which will take place in Guatemala City a November.
The pilgrimage began in Panama, visiting dioceses and parishes and then passed to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Everywhere it was met with deep fervour and enthusiasm, although most of the people are poor, they are rich in faith.
The pilgrimage arrived in Guatemala City on Saturday 6 September welcomed by members of the CAM 2 organising committee, Bishop Julio Cabrera Ovalle, of Jalapa also President of the Missions Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Guatemala and Father Antonio Bernasconi, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Guatemala and Co-ordinator for CAM2, as well as a large group of priests, religious and laity from El Salvador and Guatemala. Large crowds of people from all around, even remote villages are expected to come to venerate the Images. On this lap of its journey the Pilgrimage will also include the relics of Guatemala’s own Saint Pedro di Betancur, (canonised here by Pope John Paul II in August 2002) offered for the occasion by Archbishop Rodolfo Quezeda Totunu of Guatemala who is President of the Bishop’s Conference. The Pilgrimage of Sacred Images will continue visiting Guatemala until November 30th which is the closing date of CAM2 (R.Z.) (Fides Service 5/9/2003; lines 23; words 284).