January 22

marian calendar     january

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Aragua, Venezuela

Militia chief Luis Jiménez de Rojas brought from Spain an image of Our Lady of Charity for the chapel at his hacienda El Chaparral, now the town of San Juan de los Morros in the state of Guarico. In 1691, the hacienda burned down. The picture of Our Lady was found in the ruins, intact, with its lamp still burning. This generated a surge of popular devotion, and on January 22, 1692, the Bishop of Caracas installed the image in the village church of San Sebastian de los Reyes and authorized the foundation of a Confraternity to undertake construction of a new sanctuary. The large neoclassical Church of Our Lady of Charity was completed in 1725. The Confraternity is still active. In 1959, Pope Pius XII authorized coronation of the image, which took place January 22, 1960. 

The Virgin of Charity shares annual festivities with the town's co-patron, St. Sebastian, whose feast day is January 20. Her image travels through the area ahead of time, tracing in reverse the pilgrimages to occur in her honor. On the 21st, a parade of offerings is brought to the Virgin's altar, followed by an evening serenade with traditional mariachi music, and on the 22nd, between 5 and 6 am, the morning procession takes place along all the streets of the city, accompanied by mariachis and brass bands. Later the fiesta features craft sales, food, ball games, dancing, concerts, and bull-tailing, in which a cowboy on horseback tries to bring down a bull by wrapping its tail around his leg. 

Sources: 

Diario Antorcha, www.diarioantorcha.com, January 20, 2007
Entrega del Inventario del Patrimonio Turístico del Municipio San Sebastián, www.corpocentro.gob.ve
Salomón Benshimol, "San Sebastián de los Reyes," La-Voz, 22/01/2006, www.diariolavoz.net/seccion.asp?pid=18&sid=430&notid=176178
José Luis Ramírez, "Celebraron 50 años de la coronación canónica de la Virgen la Caridad," Diario El Periodiquito, www.elperiodiquito.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2234, January 22, 2010
"AHORA LE TOCO A SAN SEBASTIÁN," CAIDV Aragua, caidvaragua.blogspot.com/2009/03/ahora-le-toco-san-sebastian.html (picture)
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly