Virgin Mary photo icon goes to N.M. church

Nov. 19, 2004 at 12:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A life-size replica of a revered Mexican image of Jesus' mother will be installed in a New Mexico church, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday.

The 45-by-72-inch framed photographic replica of the Virgin Mary is scheduled to be "enthroned" Sunday in Albuquerque's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church by Archbishop Michael Sheehan.

The Catholic Church considers the duplicate photo an authentic relic because it was placed against the sacred original image enshrined in a basilica near Mexico City.

The Virgin Mary is said to have miraculously left her portrait on the mantle, or tilma, of an Indian, St. Juan Diego, near Mexico City in 1531.

Those who venerate the image of Mary can receive graces, including conversion, truth, evangelization and healing, said the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

"The significance is the opportunity for people to come here who cannot go to Mexico City and make the pilgrimage to pray and venerate her," Vigil said Thursday.

Mary's appearance in the guise of an Indian princess and loving mother who was regal and beautiful spoke to the Indians, he said.

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