Ringing church bells, singing mariachis and shouts of "Que Viva Guadalupe," "Que viva La Virgen," "Que viva Christo Rey," and "Que viva Father Tri" greeted a new Santa Fe landmark today in the historic capital of New Mexico.
Hundreds of cheering faithful welcomed the 12 foot-tall, 4,000 pound bronze statue of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe to the end of a long, emotional and complicated journey that took the iconic image across farmland, deserts, mountain passes and along a historic trail that once linked New Mexico to the old world where its colonists came from.
"We are so blessed," said Father Tien-Tri Nguyen of the arrival of the statue.
The statue had been held up at the border and ended up in a warehouse in El Paso, Texas. At one point it was unknown what happened to the 4,000 pound, 12 foot tall image of the Patron Saint of the Americas.
The arrival ended an emotion-filled journey from Mexico City to Santa Fe by about 30 members of the local Catholic community. The group from Santa Fe was exposed to the incredible devotion to the image of La Virgen in Old Mexico when thousands turned out to see the statue as it traveled across that country. The statue and journey also attracted national attention in Mexico, appearing on news programs and in leading newspapers. At one point the Bishop of Durango said the group of travelers went from being pilgrims on a journey to being evangelists.