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Colombians, their virgin and soccer

Our Lady of Chiquinquirá honored at Mass, and party continues 'til after World Cup final

Colombian dancers, from left, Cynthia Baez, Ana Guerrero and Giuliana Toscani, show off their folkloric outfits.

Photographer: BLANCA MORALES | FC

Colombian dancers, from left, Cynthia Baez, Ana Guerrero and Giuliana Toscani, show off their folkloric outfits.


Children, dressed in traditional Colombian clothing, bring flowers up to the image at the start of Mass.

Photographer: BLANCA MORALES | FC

Children, dressed in traditional Colombian clothing, bring flowers up to the image at the start of Mass.

MIAMI — The Virgin of Chiquinquirá heard many pleas on Sunday, July 11, as the World Cup finals went on shortly after her devotees celebrated Mass in her honor.

St. Mary Cathedral hosted a noon Mass in celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, patroness of Colombia and of the region of Zulia, Venezuela.

Before the Eucharistic celebration began, La Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá (Guild of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá), who organized the celebration, took the time to thank God for their countries.

First, the United States was recognized as the country in which they have found refuge and the opportunity of a better life. The Star Spangled Banner was sung as the national flag was brought to the altar. In similar fashion, Colombia’s and Venezuela’s flags were brought forward.

As an image of the virgin processed down the aisle, all joined in singing the hymn "Reina de Colombia" (Queen of Colombia).

An image of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá is on display at the reception which followed the Mass.

Photographer: BLANCA MORALES | FC

An image of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá is on display at the reception which followed the Mass.

Members of La Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá enter St. Mary Cathedral wearing sashes bearing the names of the parishes to which they belong. The cofradía, or guild, is present in 30 parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami.

Photographer: BLANCA MORALES | FC

Members of La Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá enter St. Mary Cathedral wearing sashes bearing the names of the parishes to which they belong. The cofradía, or guild, is present in 30 parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami.

Blue-sashed members of the cofradía waving miniature flags of Colombia followed the image toward the altar. Children in traditional costume carried baskets filled with representations of their countries’ richness: coffee, fruits, flowers, and the rosary, to name a few. These were laid by the image.

The original image, which is in the Basilica of Chinquinquirá, Colombia, was painted in the mid-16th century by Alonso de Narváez, who was commissioned to paint an image of Our Lady of the Rosary. The painting of the virgin holding both the Christ-child and a rosary also has St. Anthony of Padua and St. Andrew the apostle beside her, included for Spanish colonist Don Antonio de Santana and monk Andrés Jadraque, who commissioned the work.

The first devotee of the image is said to be Maria Ramos, sister-in-law of Santana, who was drawn to the sweet countenance of the virgin. Through her, many came to treasure the image.

In a span of over 300 years, the image increased in popularity and devotion. Gaining the attention of Pope Pius VII, Our Lady of Chiquinquirá was declared patroness of Colombia in 1829, and was granted a special liturgy. The image was canonically crowned on July 9, 1919.

Celebrating the Mass at the cathedral July 11 was Archbishop Thomas Wenski along with Father Alvaro Pinzón, spiritual director of the cofradía; Father Querubín Arango; and Father Ramón Zambrano, director of Cristo Vision, a Catholic TV channel in Colombia.

Archbishop Wenski, just back from Rome, was wearing — for the first time — the pallium he received from Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski enters St. Mary Cathedral wearing, for the first time, the pallium he received from Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

Photographer: BLANCA MORALES | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski enters St. Mary Cathedral wearing, for the first time, the pallium he received from Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

Archbishop Wenski made parallels between the story of the Good Samaritan (that Sunday’s Gospel) and Colombia, emphasizing the parable’s significance for Colombia and its future. According to the Gospel reading, the “neighbor” Jesus spoke of is “whoever needs our help,” he said in reference to Colombia and its socio-political issues.

Following the liturgy, a reception was held in the cathedral hall to celebrate the bicentennial of Colombia’s independence.

Girls fluttered their colorful skirts as they danced to folkloric music, and young children of all ages reminded everyone of Colombia’s bygone era in their culturally historic costumes. The country’s traditional cuisine also tempted the palates of those present.

At 2:30 p.m., however, all eyes turned to the large screen projecting the World Cup final. Most, if not all, of the Colombian ex-patriots were rooting for their former colonizer. With Spain’s victory, one could say the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, lovingly called La Chinita, humored her children’s pleas.

Masses in honor of Chiquinquirá will continue to take place throughout the archdiocese during the month of July. For remaining schedule, click here.

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