An annual suburban pilgrimage that draws thousands to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Police are expected to be on hand to secure the shrine and also to direct people and traffic away from the site on Dec. 11 and 12, when feast celebrations are typically held, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much hardship and pain for so many,” the Rev. Esequiel Sanchez, rector of the shrine, said in a statement. “The message of comfort offered by Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego: ‘Am I not here, I, who am your mother?’ extends particularly to us today. While we cannot observe this feast as we have in the past, it is still a time of prayer, petition and hope.”
Officials are encouraging people to celebrate the feast day at home or in their home parishes.
The decision to cancel the annual event was made after consulting with Cardinal Blase Cupich and government officials, according to the archdiocese. For more information about the shrine and any possible updates, go to www.solg.org.
The shrine, 1170 N. River Road, has attracted millions of people since the missionary image’s arrival from Mexico in 1986, according to the archdiocese.