Saturday, June 15, 2024

After pandemic delay, 7-meter statue of child Jesus installed in Zacatecas

After a year in storage in Mexico City, a huge statue of a young Christ child arrived at a town in Zacatecas on Sunday to take its place behind a revered church.

The installation of the seven-meter, three-tonne Sacred Child of Atocha was delayed due to the death of its sponsor of COVID-19 in 2020. The gas company manager had bought the effigy as an act of religious devotion, but failed to fully pay off its 750,000 peso (almost US $39,000) cost before he died.  

The government of Fresnillo stepped in to cover more than half of the outstanding cost and paid for the effigy to be transported, spending more than 500,000 pesos (about $24,000) in the process.

The work was divided into 12 pieces to be moved on two trailers to its place on the Cerro de la Cruz (Cross Hill) in the community of Plateros, near Fresnillo.

A ceremony to bless the effigy is planned for Christmas Day at the church, which is considered the third most important Catholic pilgrimage site in the country after the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and the Basilica of San Juan de los Lagos in Jalisco.

The statue in place on a hill in Plateros
The statue in place on a hill in Plateros, Zacatecas.

Up to 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit annually to venerate an image of Christ as a child and more than 1,000 faithful are expected for the Christmas ceremony. 

Fresnillo Mayor Saúl Monreal said it was worth meeting the cost due to the value of religious tourism to the area. He may be hoping that the young Christ will help tourism be reborn entirely. Violence has had a brutal impact on the industry over the past decade and there’s no sign of it abating: Fresnillo is seen by its residents as the least safe city in the country.

With reports from El Universal 

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