Redemptorists are the custodians of the popular faith in Colombia


The Miracle of Buga in Bogotá, a devotion that is growing every day

A replica of the Christ venerated since the mid-16th century in Buga is the cause of massive pilgrimages and manifestations of faith in a Bogota church.

The devotion is not very old. It just began to spread in the 80s of the twentieth century but it is so strong and growing that on the 14th of each month the church of St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori is too small to hold thousands of pilgrims who arrive from various places in Colombia and abroad.

Press references remind that around 1980, several ladies from the La Soledad neighborhood organized pilgrimages from Bogotá to Buga – a western town – to visit the Lord of Miracles, ask for favors and pay homages. After heavy trips, of more than 1,000 kilometers, the women began to decline, but not to decline in their faith and that is why they proposed to the priest to let them locate an image in a place of the church. The priest agreed and allowed four religious to put a Crucifix of Christ who, according to various writings, “was very different from the real one.”

The growth of the devotion of a new Lord of Miracles is due to Father Londoño Sepúlveda. He traveled to Buga in 1999 and made an image of Christ in fiberglass.

The image was so well received by many devotees.  It is the same as Buga and they even maintain that the Redemptorists of that city lend it from time to time to expose it in Bogotá. In addition, that fame of Christ well spread among the Redemptorist community that allowed the use of the same mold to multiply the Miracles who are now in different parts of the world.

Beginning in 2000, the daily Eucharist increased and on Sundays confessions, pilgrimages, requests for spiritual help, marriages and baptisms increased.

The fame of a Miraculous Buga who could be worshiped without moving from the capital spread so quickly that in a matter of months the quiet neighborhood of La Soledad began to transform. The spacious upper-middle-class family homes were surrounded by a multitude of street vendors, dozens of people asking for financial help, thousands of sick people seeking physical healing and thousands of others willing to heal their spiritual wounds.

It was an unusual event that surprises everything. In those years, according to parish data, the average number of attendees reached 35,000 on Sundays and rose to 50,000 on the 14th. At present, the figures show that on Sunday the faithful are close to 60,000 and on the 14th reach at least 80,000

Today, the twelve masses scheduled between 5:00 in the morning and 8:00 at night are not enough. The attendance is so great that thousands of faithful who listen to the services standing, either inside or outside the Church. At time priests are unable be available for the sacrament of reconciliation. “Sometimes we have no time to eat because the demand for confessions is very large and starts at dawn and ends very late at night,” says one of the religious of St Alphonsus.