The Lord of Esquipulas
There are several versions in regard to the dark color of the image. One is that the smoke of the countless candles that are continuously lighted in the Shrine, made the wood to darken. A cherished tradition is that the image got dark in one night, a miracle that Our Lord did to please and fulfill the wish of the people of Esquipulas.
There are countless miracles attributed to the Lord of Esquipulas. The devotion to the Lord of Espuipulas transcends the borders of Guatemala. Millions of pilgrims coming from all of Latin America, as well as from Europe, make the annual prilgrimage to venerate the sacred image. There are several books written about the Lord of Esquipulas and His miracles. There are numerous novena prayers.
The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, visited Guatemala on February 6, 1996, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the image, and on that occesion, he designated the Shrine as a Basilica.
The devotees of the Lord of Esquipulas carry this devotion wherever they go. In Baltimore, and thanks to the initiative of Father John Lavin, C.Ss.R., Mrs. Delfina Pereda, and of the Guatemalan and Latin American communities, a replica of the image was enthroned at St. Patrick's Church, located on the corners of Broadway and Bank Streets, in the Fells Point area. On January 15, 2000, in spite of a heavy snowfall and intense cold, Father Lavin came from Annapolis to celebrate a Mass in honor of the Lord of Esquipulas. After the Mass, a reception with typical foods from Guatemala and Latin America, was held in the church hall.