The Basilica of Guadalupe
“I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection. Because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; to listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me.”
The present church was constructed on the site of an earlier 16th-century church that was finished in 1709, the Old Basilica. When this basilica became dangerous due to the sinking of its foundations, a modern structure called the
Built between 1974 and 1976, the new Basilica has a circular floorplan so that the image of the Virgin can be seen from any point within the building. The circular structure is 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter, and can accomodate up to 50,000 people. The choir is located between the altar and the churchgoers to indicate that it, too, is part of the group of the faithful. To the sides are the chapels of the Santisimo and of Saint Joseph. It has 9 chapels on the upper floor. Under the main floor are the Basilica’s crypts, with 15,000 niches and 10 chapels.
The Basilica as well as the other chapels in the sanctuary are the center of fervent religious activity, around the clock:
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