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MEXICO—A group of 46 Catholics from the Diocese of San Bernardino and other communities journeyed to Mexico City on a five-day pilgrimage July 18-23.

The journey was to be led by Bishop Alberto Rojas in commemoration of his 25th Anniversary of Priesthood, but the Bishop contracted COVID-19 just days before and was unable to go. Father Erik Esparza, JCL, served as the Spiritual Director of the pilgrimage in Bishop Rojas’ absence.

The pilgrims visited a series of holy sites in and around Mexico City, praying the Rosary and celebrating Mass daily. Churches visited by the pilgrims included: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Church of San Francisco (the first Franciscan complex in the Americas), the Church of Santiago de Tlatelolco (which contains the baptismal font of Juan Diego), the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Maria Tulpetlac Church (site of the fifth apparition of Our Lady) and the Sagrada Familia Church (where the remains of Blessed Miguel Pro are kept).

Other sites visited by the pilgrims included the Casa de los Azulejos (an 18th century Baroque Palace), Paseo de la Reforma, the Plaza of the Three Cultures, the former Convent of San Augustine of Hippo, the Pyramid of the Sun and the tomb of Blessed Miguel Pro.

“Everyone just enjoyed themselves,” said pilgrim Densy Chandra, a parishioner of The Holy Name of Jesus, who organized the journey. “They loved the liturgies and the visits. Some said they experienced God’s personal touch, a kind of miracle, while they were there.”

Though he was not able to join the pilgrims, Bishop Rojas offered some words of accompaniment that were read during the July 20 Mass celebrated by the pilgrims at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“I am with you in my heart,” Bishop Rojas wrote. “The blessed Mother of Guadalupe reminded us and assured us of her maternal love and care.”

Referencing that day’s Gospel reading, the Bishop added, “let us continue to be good soil and receive with humility that Word, that Seed, who is Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Let us allow the seed (Jesus) take deep and strong roots in all of us in our hearts and minds, where it cannot be stolen, nor scorched, or choked.”

Bishop Rojas greeted the pilgrims upon their return from Mexico City and received from them gifts for his Silver Jubilee of Priesthood.