BOGOTÁ | 23 September 2018

Before the arrival of the Spanish, the stretches of the highlands where inhabited by populations of indigenousness called Myskas and Chibcha. From these populations many cities received their names (Bacatá, Zipaquirá, Facatativá…) as well as the golden artefacts they offered to the divinities in the lagoons. For a few years they have been trying to recuperate the ancient traditions by doing a walk, proposed by the council of the Myskas elders, that touches a few of the churches in the historic center of Bogotá, ideally for them, these churches represent the same tradition of sacred places.

This year, for the first time, we accepted to receive around two hundred people of the procession in our church. Their intension was to celebrate the Virgin Mary as a symbol of maternity, of life and of water (especially venerated by the Myskas and related to our parish, dedicated to the Madonna de Las Aguas). We were struck by their profound reverence as they entered the church, accompanied by the notes of Ave Maria by Schubert and by a traditional song of praise that said: Mother of water! Sweet breast, cold womb, heal us! The elderly woman who lead the gesture brought with her a mantle with an embroidered image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on it. In this sign, I recognized a point of unity between their gesture, which was not without elements of paganism and syncretism, and the desire for God that every people has and recognizes, especially through their mother.

Only the Church, visible sign of the maternity of Mary and of divine mercy, is able to widen her arms to the point of welcoming those who are on the search for the meaning of their walking.

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