Guadalupe has non-stop Sunday mass. Ours was partially in a native language and was attended by traditionally dressed Mexicans (?) with impressive feathered headdresses. It finished in 56 minutes and as we were walking out we had to stand aside for the entrance procession of the next which was quite different with all the pilgrims carrying flowers held above their heads and was in part in a language which sounded to me like Gaellic, although I doubt it was.
The image of Our Lady in the basilica is beautiful and cleverly serviced by three parallel travellators that run under the altar so that everyone gets a few seconds in front of it (you can go as many times as you like, but can’t linger and hold up the queue).
My visit here reminded me very much of my trip to Fatima with my sister a few years back and although for me, Guadalupe lacks the “wow” factor that was inescapable there, I find these places humbling ways to experience another facet of Catholicism. The father who carries his baby on his knees, the family groups so thrilled to just be there, the crush of souvenir buyers, the festive atmosphere all help create the sense that something really special happened here and continues to be possible.