The iconic image of the Virgin Mary of Altagracia will be transferred from the Basilica of Higüey to different points of Santo Domingo to commemorate the celebration of 100 years of her canonical coronation, carried out on August 15, 1922.
This was announced this Monday by the bishop of the Diocese of Our Lady of Altagracia, Monsignor Jesús Castro Marte, after finishing the Eucharist on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the creation of the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD) held at the Military Cathedral Saint Barbara.
According to the priest, the Virgin will be presented from August 14th at the First Cathedral of America, Puerta del Conde and the next day at the Olympic Stadium.
“The Virgin Mary of Altagracia is celebrating her 100 years of canonical coronation and soon on August 15 the Virgin of Altagracia is going to visit Santo Domingo, from Higüey we are going to move her to Santo Domingo, to the Olympic Stadium… that people contemplate the protector of the Dominican people. So that it pours out blessings to the nation,” Castro Marte emphasized.
The bishop made the announcement after referring to the fact that “we must find a solution”, to the different criminal acts that have shaken various parts of the country.
During the mass, he proposed holding a national summit to discuss how to combat the crime that currently affects the country.
“I think that, between the authorities, together with civil society there should be a summit, but a summit to dialogue seriously, and at the same time the police reform has to accelerate,” Castro Marte considered.
Regarding the summit, he argued that the political sectors should participate, who should leave politicking aside and think more about the country.
Coronations to the Virgin of Altagracia
In the 20th century, Our Lady of Altagracia was crowned twice: by Pope Pius XI and by Pope John Paul II.
Her first coronation was on August 15, 1922 at the Puerta del Conde, when Pope Pius XI was in the Dominican Republic. The virgin was transferred from her Sanctuary in Higüey, to the Capital.
In 1924, Congress approved the celebration of Our Lady of Altagracia as a national holiday on January 21. On October 31, 1927, Pope Pius XI declared it a Church holiday, through an apostolic brief.
During the first visit of Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1979, he blessed the Altagracia Sanctuary (today the Basilica of Higüey) and on October 12, 1992, on his second trip to the country, John Paul II personally crowned the image of the Virgin of Altagracia with a silver-gilt diadem, her personal gift to the Virgin.
About the virgin
The Virgen de la Altagracia is the Protector of the Dominican People (due to confusion, many people think that she is the patron saint of the country; the Virgen de las Mercedes is the patron saint of the Dominican Republic). The devotion to her, on the part of the Catholic population, began in the country during the colonial period, from where she passed to other regions of America.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Monsignor Arturo de Meriño, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, asked the Holy See to grant a Divine Office and Proper Mass for the day of the Virgin of Altagracia, also begging that the 21 January, since it was not possible on August 15, since the Catholic Church celebrated on that date the Mystery of the Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven. The request was approved and the concession is effective for the entire Archdiocese of Santo Domingo. January 21 was officially declared a non-working day and a national holiday throughout the national territory during the government of Horacio Vásquez.