Dominican Church closes Altagracia Jubilee celebrations
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, the Dominican Church closes the celebrations of the Jubilee of the Virgin of Altagracia. Pope Francis’ special envoy, Bishop Edgar Peña Parra, Alternate for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, will join the closing event on August 15.
August 15, 2022
The image of the Virgin of Altagracia
By Sebastian Sanson Ferrari and Lisa Zengarini
Catholics in the Dominican Republic prepare for the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15, which concludes this year’s special Jubilee of Altagracia celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the canonical coronation of the image of the Virgin of Altagracia, known as the Mother and Patroness of the Dominican people.
Dominican Devotion to Our Lady of Altagracia
The Dominicans are very devoted to the Virgin of Altagracia, and each year a special pilgrimage takes place from August 10 to 14 from the National Shrine of the Christ of Miracles, in the municipality of Bayaguana, to the Basilica de la Altagracia in the eastern city of Higüey where the image is dedicated. During the five-day march, pilgrims cover 114 kilometers.
Message of Pope Francis for the Jubilee
In a message to the Dominican people on July 15, as they celebrate the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis noted that his deep devotion to the Virgin of Altagracia “is a sign of the Christian roots that characterize and give life” to their land and therefore encouraged them “not to be discouraged” in their testimony of faith, to nurture and strengthen, by the example and intercession of the Virgin Mary, their “love for Jesus and for the Church “.
The Pope pointed out that the image showing the loving gaze of the Mother contemplating the Child who sleeps with confidence on her lap “is an invitation to learn to see, through his eyes, Jesus present in our neighbors, and to us remember that we are part of the same human family called to live together in fraternity and solidarity”. Thus, he declared, “the Virgin of Altagracia has been for the Dominican people a source of unity in the difficult times and a steady hand that supports him in the setbacks that arise in their daily lives”.
The Appointment of Bishop Edgar Peña Parra as Papal Envoy
As a sign of affection for the Dominican people, Pope Francis sent Bishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, as Special Envoy to the closing event of the Jubilee, August 15, which will pay homage to the Virgin of Altagracia, in her name, by laying a Golden Rose at her feet.
The events of August 15
The day will begin with the recitation of the Rosary of the Dawn in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Altagracia, followed by a Patriotic Act presided over by the civil authorities, and in the presence of the Special Envoy of the Vatican alongside the Dominican Bishops , at the Puerta del Conde, where the Coronation of the Virgin took place a century ago. The closing of the Jubilee will be marked by a solemn Mass presided over by Bishop Peña Parra at the Olympic Stadium, with around 700 concelebrants, and a Marian concert.–Vatican News