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Basílica de Zapopan.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan ( ) and the abbey of Our Lady of Expectation of Zapopan are a Franciscan sanctuary built in the heart of Zapopanmarker in the state of Jaliscomarker, Méxicomarker. The church belongs to the Franciscan province of Sts. Francis and James (Francisco y Santiago) that covers Jaliscomarker, Monterreymarker, Guanajuatomarker and Zacatecasmarker.

The abbey is made up of members of the Franciscan 'Order of Friars Minor, though it is also used by the Capuchin, Third order, Society of Saint Francis, the Clarisse, and Franciscan sisters. It has also worked with the Dominicans and the Franciscan Youth (JuFra) of Roch. Affiliated with the church is a retirement home of the Valle de la misericordia (Valley of Mercy). It is one of the most visited sanctuaries in Western Mexico, and it preserves a wooden Virgin that is considered a valuable relic of medieval origin, which came from Spain to New Galicia in the 16th century.

Virgin of Zapopan

Interior of the Basilica of Zapopan.
The Virgin of Zapopan is also known as Our Lady of Expectation. She is also referred to as La Generala or the Zapopanita. In 1734, she was proclaimed Patroness against storms and lightning. The statue stays in Guadalajara from June 13 to October 12. After Mexico became independent in 1821, the Virgin was proclaimed Patroness of the State of Jalisco.

On March 1, 1942 She was canonically crowned on January 18, 1921, in a ceremony that included presenting the keys to the city of Guadalajaramarker.

The Romeria

The romeria is the name of the annual pilgrimage from the Guadalajara Cathedral to the Basilica of Zapopan.

It is considered the third most important pilgrimage center in the country, after the one of the Virgin of Guadalupemarker, and the Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes. The Romería of the Virgin of Zapopan consists of a route 8 km in length, from the metropolitan Guadalajara Cathedral, to the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan.

At dawn on October 12 of each year a procession of lay Catholics, pre-Columbian dancers, mendicants, priests and seminarians carries a statue of the Virgin Mary from the cathedral to the basilica. The figure of the virgin goes accompanied by more than 3,000,000 people. This festival involves most of the population of both cities and finishes with a mass in the plaza outside the basilica. The event ends with traditional dances and evening fireworks.

History of the abbey

Different tribes of indigenous people populated the territory of Tzapopan around the 12th century A.D. After their arrival in 1492 the conquistadors led by Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán conquered this area in 1530. Missionaries soon followed and in 1541, under the direction of the Spanish king, the town of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Tzapopan (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Tzapopan). Local legend has it that the Virgin interceded between the Spanish and the native population during the conquest, convincing the local population to lay down their arms and convert to Christianity.

Major construction of the abbey began in 1689, although the original project underwent several later changes, additions and conversions with the passage of time. The front of the structure has a great vestibule, with showy portals that feature Ionic columns, sculptured reliefs and large flowerpots on pedestals. The windows of the priest’s rooms are on the side of the church. The main altar is made of Italian marble from Carraramarker. The pedestal for the statue of the Virgin is made of cypress made by the local population in the 16th century.

It is said that the Virgin came to the assistance of the local populace fighting for independence in 1821. In 1979 the Pope John Paul II visited the church.


Picture featuring the life of San Felipe de Jesús.
Entrance to the Huichol Museum.
The church has a collection of art that includes its own architectural features, paintings and sculptures.

The basilica is a monument to 16th century architecture, but it is not alone since it is surrounded by other architectonic jewels like the chapel of Nextipac (of Franciscan construction), the chapel of Santa Ana Tepetitlán (a hospital founded by Franciscans). There are also 17th century buildings like the neoclassic church of San Pedro Apóstol, ‘’Cruz Atrial de Tesistán’’, the Municipal Palace and the Zapopan Entrance Arch.

The church’s atrium features two bronze statues, one of Fr. Antonio de Segovia and of Pope John Paul II. The Huichol museum is next to the basilica and has a permanenet exhibit about the art of the Huichol, Tepehuan and Cora people.The Museum of the Virgin of Zapopan is on the north side of the basilica next to where the Virgin is venerated.

The interior of the abbey has lodigins on the first and second floor and a chapel for the priests. There are also mediatation gardens. The basilica serves as a seminary and a center of religious instruction for the Franciscans.

See also

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