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The traditional pilgrimage dedicated to the so-called La Negrita, Virgen de Los Angeles, has been in place since 1635.
  / Basilica of Our Lady of Los Angeles courtesy photo.




























Published Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Promises and miracles requested to
La Negrita can be made online


By the  A.M. Costa Rica staff


Since May, authorities of the Ministry of Health announced the suspension of La Negrita pilgrimage this year, due to the declaration of a health emergency caused by covid-19.

The traditional pilgrimage dedicated to the so-called La Negrita, Virgen de Los Angeles, has been in place since 1635.

However, because small groups of pilgrims have been reported walking towards the Basilica of Our Lady of Los Angeles, in Cartago Province, in what seems like a pilgrimage, the health authorities call on the Catholic community to carry out the celebration of the Virgin Los Angeles from their homes, remembering that the pilgrimage is suspended due to epidemiological risk.

"This activity gathers crowds of people is the largest mass event in the country, with an average of between two and two-and-a-half million pilgrims during those days," said Monsignor Mario Enrique Quirós, Bishop of the Cartago Province.

To encourage believers to celebrate the day of the Virgin Mary from their homes, the rectory of the Basilica of the Angels and the Catholic Church set up a platform on the website, RomeriaVirtual2020.com, for the faithful to register their request list to the virgin and for devouts to participate in a virtual pilgrimage.

The website is free and open to receive new members until Sunday, Aug. 2.   As of this morning 30,667 miracles had already been requested.

“This year, if we love La Negrita we should not go to Cartago on foot, let us express our feelings and prayers to our Mother of Heaven through Virtual Pilgrimage, which the bishops of Costa Rica with the help of many have proposed to all of us,” said Mauricio Granados, representative of the Episcopal Conference.

According to Granados, also on the social networks of the Catholic Church of Costa Rica, such as Facebook and Instagram, followers can post the list of their promises and requests to the virgin.

La Negrita is the boss or patron of Costa Rica expected to help them throughout their life, according to Catholics in the country.

La Negrita is a stone sculpture that measures about 20 centimeters and is composed of volcanic rock, graphite and jade. Since the rock is black, people call it "La Negrita" but it is presumed to be the image of the Virgin Mother of Jesus. The image has a round face, slanted eyes, a little nose and a small mouth. In her left arm, she holds baby Jesus whose right hand is raised as in giving a blessing.

The name given to the idol is Virgin of Los Angeles because she was discovered on Aug. 2, 1635, by the Franciscan Order venerating its patron saint, Santa María de los Ángeles.

On Sept. 24, 1824, by decree of the highest political authorities of the country, the Virgin of the Angels was declared as the official patron of Costa Rica.

La Romería, which translates to pilgrimage, dedicated to La Negrita has been celebrated for more than 400 years on Aug. 1. The tradition that began with the Catholic community, has become one of the most important events of the year. Romería is a mass journey of the faithful to pay homage to the virgin located at the Basilica.

This is the second time in Costa Rican history that the Romería is canceled, also for health reasons.

In August 2009, María Luisa Ávila, the minister of Health at that time, said the official suspension of the annual pilgrimage was for the protection of the health of the population.

Avila was warning that the incidents of swine flu were expected to peak at the end of August 2009. Specialists had estimated 20,000 people would come down with the illness if the pilgrimage continued as planned.

As a response to Health authorities, the Catholic Church officials agreed to keep the Basilica closed, canceling the traditional day for a mass and sermons in honor of the virgen.

In 2009, authorities reported 12 people died in Costa Rica from illnesses partially attributed to swine flu. Most of them had pre-existing health conditions that made them vulnerable. There were about 560 confirmed cases of swine flu.

This year, authorities call to stay home due to the country continues to face an acceleration of cases.



As of Monday afternoon, the ministry provided the following statistics of the status of the virus in the country:

612 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 11,902 active cases. The ages of patients infected range from one three-month-old baby to one 100-year-old person.

4,464 foreign-born people have been infected of the 15,841 cases since March, approximately 28% of the total cases.

• 323 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 267 patients are in recovery rooms and 56 are in Intensive Care Units, ICU, with delicate health conditions. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 3,824 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 24% recovery rate.

• 54,158 people have been ruled out.

• 81,266 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

115 deaths of patients infected with covid-19 since March. Which is almost a 0.7% death rate. Of these 42 were women and 73 men.

• Of the total of deaths, one person whose nationality is not yet identified, 26 foreign-born people, and 88 Costa Ricans.

Readers can reach the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.

As of Sunday night, the pandemic has killed 657,451 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.



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What miracle would you ask for from La Negrita?    We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com





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