Wednesday, July 23, 2008


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.


The statue arrived moments ago at the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe to ringing bells and a Native American blessing from Lee Moquino of Santa Clara Pueblo. The statue traveled down Agua Fria Street to St Francis Drive and then along Alameda to the Cathedral.

Motorcycles officers led a procession that was made up of 13 City Police, State Police and Sheriff's Department vehicles - all with lights and sirens blaring and flashing. About 30 other cars followed the statue with horns blaring.

Parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish were surprised when they were getting an update on the location of the statue and the procession passed the church. The commotion of the blaring sirens and the excitement of the passing statue drew several people from the church who took to the sidewalks running and quickly walking after the statue down Alameda toward the Cathedral. Others were waiting for the statue's arrival at the Guadalupe Parish where it is to be greeted by mariachis.


The five person team that went to El Paso has the statue of Nuesta Señora de Guadalupe and is headed to Santa Fe.

"We just passed Las Cruces," said Deacon Anthony Trujillo.

The 4,000 pound plus package was placed on a flatbed with a pair of forklifts at the warehouse in El Paso.

The statue will stop in Rio Rancho at St. Thomas Aquinas and at La Bajada rest stop where it will be met by church members. It will then continue to the Cathedral in downtown Santa Fe for a blessing.

And if all goes as planned a Mass is scheduled at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish on Agua Fria this evening - about 6:00 - when the statue is expected to arrive.

Here is a story about the statue in the Santa Fe New Mexican

And here is one in the Journal North (account required)