Thank you, Cardinal Cupich. Every year we at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe prioritize all pilgrims’ health and wellbeing who journey to this sacred place for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This year is no different. However, in consultation with government officials, Cardinal Cupich, Archdiocesan officials as well as the community leadership at the Shrine, we have come to the decision that the best way for us to protect pilgrims from being exposed and avert a situation where mass infections may happen is to cancel our yearly celebrations and close the Shrine for this year. This decision was not made easily but acknowledging the current state of the pandemic, it is essential to prioritize the health and wellbeing of the community.
We highly discourage individual or group pilgrimages to the Shrine and invite all to celebrate this year’s feast in the comfort of your own home with family. There will be no parking made available. The grounds of the Shrine and remote parking lots will be closed to the public. Local police and private security will assist us in helping guide traffic and securing the Shrine grounds. Pilgrims who may arrive on December 11th and 12th will be invited to return home immediately for their safety following our protocols. I invite you to please help me communicate this vital information with your family, friends, and loved ones who devotedly make the yearly pilgrimage.
We will also be notifying all parishes to avoid organizing pilgrimages from or to the Shrine this year. Pilgrims who feel that that they have a sacred duty to make a pilgrimage are invited to do so at another time during the month of December or when health conditions permit.
We would like to accompany the community by inviting the community to the various live-streamed activities that will be made available via the Shrine website at www.solg.org and social media (Facebook and YouTube). We are currently working on activities and virtual educational programs that will help families learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and her importance in the lives of Catholics.
This pandemic has already caused so much emotional, psychological, and spiritual tension. We have also been wounded by watching our friends and family get sick and even die because of the COVIV-19. That is why we are called to unite with each other and people of faith throughout the world by reaching out virtually and in the Holy Eucharist.
We recognize that this year, pilgrims will not be able to make their spiritual pilgrimages, either to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City or here at the Shrine in Des Plaines. Perhaps this year, it is Our Lady who will come to your home. Let us prepare to receive our Blessed Mother in our homes with all of the love, zeal, and affection we, her children, have for her by placing a light/ candle (carefully secured) at our window from 6:00 p.m. on December 11th until midnight on December 12th.
In the name of all of us at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I thank you for your compassionate caring and prayers. Let’s keep safe and strengthen our bonds of faith. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, bless you and your family!