Juan Diego had a vision on December 9, 1531 according to the Catholic Church: the Virgin Mary, i.e. Our Lady of Guadalupe, met him on a hilltop near Mexico City and asked that a church be built on the site to honor her. To prove her identity, she cured Juan’s uncle of an incurable disease and had him take flowers bundled in his cloak to the local bishop. When Juan opened the cloak for the bishop, an image of the Virgin was embedded in it.
The Virgin got her church and Our Lady of Guadalupe has been big in Mexico ever since. Pope John Paul II declared her the Empress of Latin America in 1999. Juan Diego was canonized in 2002. He’s now a saint. As for the cloak, it is enshrined in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It is the most visited shrine to the Virgin Mary in the world. Millions of people stop by to pray and ask for blessings.
Thus it isn’t surprising that the people of Puerto Vallarta decided to name their church after the Lady when they built it in the early 1900s. The beautiful structure has become an icon for the city of Puerto Vallarta. We were there in early December for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day. The church was packed with events and people.
Following are several more photos of the church.
NEXT BLOG: The tropical sunsets of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta.