Chapala natives from all social strata have become heartsick after a potent storm struck last week, turning the Cross planted near the peak of the town’s Cerrito de San Miguel into a pile of rubble.
It was an emblematic structure stepped in local history, legend and religious symbolism.
La Cruz, and perhaps others that came before, is said to have been located near the spot of the hermitage long ago occupied by Fray Miguel de Bolonia, the distinguished itinerant Franciscan friar who led the Evangelization of the indigenous people who inhabited vast lands now divided among the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas and Michoacán in the wake of the Spanish conquest. According to early chronicles, Fray Miguel in fact died in Chapala in 1580, and his remains were entered beneath the altar in the San Francisco church.
The fallen cross was erected sometime between 1925 and 1938. No one has pinned down the exact year.
There is one account referring to a blessing bestowed by Padre Antonio Alba Rodríguez who served as Chapala’s parish priest from 1937 to 1955 and qualified the cross as a sign of divine protection. Ironically, one aspect was the quality of staving off torrential rain and hail storms that lashed the populace with some regularity in summer months.