Sunday, December 1, 2013

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Puerto Vallarata, Mexic0

"It dominates Puerto Vallarta's skyline in countless postcards, serving as the city’s most recognizable and endearing landmark all over the world. Year after year, it welcomes thousands of Catholics, particularly during an involved 12-day festival known as the Feast of Guadalupe every December. For many, it is a must-visit attraction in our city. For the privileged few who run the place on a day-to-day basis, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is undoubtedly our city's most precious monument, one that we should all endeavor to preserve.

"To this date, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Guadalupe Church, has been under the attentive supervision of eight parish priests. Father Salazar (2003 - present) came from Tepic's Immaculate Conception Parish, where he served for two and a half years. Along with him, there are four other priests at Guadalupe Church. On any given day, a number of services are offered, including an English service Saturdays at 5 pm, and a bilingual service on Sundays, 10 am. Jacques Landre, an English- and French-speaking Canadian priest has been spending his holiday in Puerto Vallarta for several years, performing Sunday mass.

Chancel Sculpture

"...The church bells are rung by the sextants 30 and 15 minutes prior to each service. During the peregrinaciones, or pilgrimages, for the 12-day Feast of Guadalupe, thousands of faithful from all over Puerto Vallarta and beyond walk to the church to pay tribute to the virgin as the bells joyfully welcome them. 
"When construction of the foundations of an early church began in Puerto Vallarta in 1903, there was already a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe at the same location.... Existing foundations were strengthened, and by 1917 they were finished, along with the main pillars and walls. Construction continued and, in the following year, the work-in-progress was promoted from a chapel to a parish by the Mexican clergy, with new walls and scaffolding surrounding the original and still-functioning chapel.
"Construction continued at a brisk pace during the early 1920s, with the blessing of "La Eucaristía," the main church bell, but halted abruptly in 1926 when Mexico's struggle between church and state escalated into an armed conflict known as the Cristero War. On June 27 of that year, church bells rang in Mexico for the first time in almost three years.
"Once the conflict diminished to a safe level, construction of the church was resumed with the beginning of the dome in 1930. It wasn't until the 1940s, however, that the entire building was finished, with the exception of the two towers. The chancel was used for the first time, and a Hammond organ installed on December 12, 1951,... it wasn't finished until 1952.

Poster on Exterior Church Wall
"The original church crown was installed in 1963. It was made of concrete, and is said to be a replica of a crown worn by Carlota, mistress of the Emperor Maximilian in the 1860s. Finally, and under padre Ramírez's supervision, the façade and lateral towers were completed in 1987, resulting, for the most part, in the church as we know it today.
" The main building is considered to be neoclassic, while the crown reminds us of baroque Austrian temples. The lateral towers, due to their late completion, have an elegant, Renaissance feel.
"...early foundations along with the placement of the column groupings indicate that the original design may have intended to pay tribute to the original Basilica de Guadalupe, located in Mexico City's Zocalo. 
"The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe venerated at the church is an oil replica painted by Guadalajara artist Ignacio Ramirez in 1945. 

"Due to inevitable damage caused by erosion and weather changes, the original crown installed in 1963 had to be restored in 1981. But on October 9, 1995, it was completely destroyed by a 7.5 Richter-scale earthquake. At the time, members of the public and private sectors recognized the importance of the crown as a universal symbol for our destination and agreed to commission a temporary replacement made of fiberglass. Regretfully, the material used to build it was not strong enough to withstand its own weight, so the crown's sections have deformed, altering its original profile and volume.
".. the budget required to restore the crown to its glory is $800,000 USD." (Link 1.)
Photos: Taken in September 2013 by SW.
Link 1:


God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

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