The forecourt is very deserted on this Mother’s Day Sunday in Mexico. Some families cross paths while respecting safety distances without much effort, facing the gigantic reinforced concrete architecture of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, adjacent to the ancient temple, in the very Mexican baroque style.
In front of a side door, there is a rush: devotees want to attend mass. But it will be celebrated behind closed doors. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Mexican Catholic Church is adapting, and this place which receives 20 million visitors a year – surpassed only by the Vatican – is no exception.
→ READ. Deconfinement: the rapid resumption of masses in debate
Faustino Suarez and his two children came to deposit a statuette of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a chapel, behind “La Villa”. He lights a candle, kneels. “We come every Sunday, but because of the pandemic, we listen to the office through the doors. ” As he stood up, Don Faustino added: “We could do it from home, but it’s more frustrating. “
“At home, there are more bad vibes”
The ceremony is celebrated behind closed doors but it is broadcast on public television and on the Internet. A lesser evil, “Even if it’s not the same. At home, there are more bad waves, regrets José Ignacio Sanchez, T-shirt of the virgin on the back, frame of the Guadalupe hanging on the belt. You are less comfortable. On TV, you feel less faith filtering through you. The basilica is more relaxing. “
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Rates, Archbishop of Mexico City, himself called the presbyteral body “To appeal to creativity and alternative means of communication” to practice faith. Many Mexicans discovered the mass by television, like Bertha Dorador, who had to attend the funeral ceremony of her brother … via the Facebook account of the parish. “I couldn’t move anyway. It’s the first time I’ve watched a Mass on the Internet. “
Certainly, new technologies represent a solution for living your faith, “But for the Eucharist and the confession, this system has limits”, regrets Father Alfredo Ramos, of the Christ Roi parish, in a residential district of Mexico City. “Believers need a place for these sacraments, and it is irreplaceable. “
“It’s a lesson from God”
This priest also had to adapt for weddings and funerals, ceremonies limited to 15 people. “For the Covid-19 dead, whose bodies had to be locked in funeral bags due to health restrictions, the parents tell me” I feel like I didn’t say goodbye to him properly. ” It can be very badly lived. “
→ READ. In Mexico, the Church on the front line for migrants
For his part, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Rates wants to draw positive lessons from this crisis: “God manifests himself to dictate to us what he wants from us, in order to redirect us towards solidarity, fraternity, justice, peace. ” The faithful also learn from this pandemic, like José Ignacio: “There is less pollution, the animals come out as before …” The young man then turns to the statue of the Virgin. ” It’s a lesson that God gives us. “