Multitude flocks to Mexico's Basilica of Guadalupe

A multitude surrounds Mexico City's Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the feast day of Mexico's patroness

The Dec. 12 pilgrimage honors the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patroness. Many carry large statues or other images of the cerulean-shrouded, contemplative virgin as they stream en masse to the temple. Some make the last stretch crawling emotionally — and painfully — on their knees.

According to church tradition, in 1531 the dark-skinned virgin appeared to the indigenous peasant Juan Diego and her image was imprinted on his cloak, which is on display inside the church. Juan Diego was made a saint in 2002 by Saint John Paul II.

The masses are so huge that people are often left to sleep on the sidewalk while they wait for a turn inside to view the cloak.