Guatemala – Solemnity of the Black Christ of Petén

21 January 2021

(ANS - Flores) – Celebrated on 15 January in the Department of Petén, Guatemala, was the feast day of the patron saint of the Apostolic Vicariate of Petén, featuring the venerated image of the Black Christ of Esquipulas, an image which, on the initiative of the last Apostolic Administrator of Petén, Monsignor Jorge Mario Ávila del Águila, has since 1984 begun to be called the “Black Christ of Petén”, thus linking it even more to the territory and people of the Department.

In the years preceding the Sars Cov 2 pandemic, the island of Flores, capital of the Department, used to welcome many faithful for the occasion. From Mexico, Belize, from other departments of Guatemala and from the same Department, they would visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Remedies and San Pablo del Itzà to venerate the patron saint.

However, the emergency caused by Covid-19 has generated a totally new situation, never experienced in many years. This year, in atypical conditions and in a climate of limitations and restrictions, the Black Christ was celebrated in a context that did not allow the usual manifestations of joy and affluence typical of this day and many people had to renounce the Eucharist and other celebrations of faith, such as, in the first place, the veneration of the Black Christ.

But in the last meeting of the priests of the Petén Church, the creative idea emerged of celebrating the feast together with the bishop of Petén, Msgr. Mario Bernardo Fiandri, SDB, by connecting the 23 parishes that make up the Apostolic Vicariate of Petén via an online co-presence and spiritual union with the Eucharist at 6 pm local time.

For the first time the Parish of San Benito de Palermo and the Salesian Community celebrated the Solemnity of the Black Christ from the Parish Temple of San Benito, taking all necessary safety measures, and broadcast the Eucharist live on Facebook.

The celebrations of the Department then ended with the traditional veneration of the statue by the faithful participating in person, always respecting the measures of social distancing.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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