Jalisco’s most venerated religious icon, the Virgin of Zapopan, rolled into Chapala Sunday, July 11, for her customary summer visit to raise prayers for a favorable rainy season and blessings for Mexico’s largest lake.
The petite figure representing Our Lady of Expectation was conferred the title Reina del Lago (Queen of the Lake) during her visit in July 2009.
While the glass-encased, corn-husk statue was welcomed this year with a parade along Avenida Madero, barrages of skyrockets and jubilant pealing of church bells, the scaled-back celebration lacked much of the fanfare typical of previous visits.
Closely guarded by an entourage from her home Basilica, the Virgin was mounted atop a pickup truck adorned with bows of fresh flowers for a slow drive down the avenue, warmly greeted by spectators lined up on the sidewalks, but minus the throng of pilgrims, marching bands and ritual dance troupes that usually take part in the procession.
In another break from normal routine, the Virgin was unloaded from the truck outside City Hall and carried straight to the Chapala pier for the lake blessing that customarily takes place following an open-air celebration of Mass. After a short march along the Malecón, she was taken into the nearby church for the noon service.
On Monday morning, the Virgin was boarded on the tourist boat “Cristobal” for a short cruise along the waterfront, a substitute for her regular jaunt to Scorpion Island. Following the 4 p.m. farewell Mass, she was loaded into her van for the return trip to Zapopan.