SCORES of people are set to make a pilgrimage to Portsmouth to see a religious relic that is almost 500 years old.
The Miraculous Relic Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was installed at St John’s Catholic Cathedral yesterday and will remain there until Thursday.
The image dates back to 1531 when it is said that a ‘Lady from Heaven’ appeared to a native American, Juan Diego, at Tepeyac, a hill north west of Mexico City.
Later that day, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have miraculously imprinted on the man’s cloak.
The relic has been on a tour of England in recent months from its base in Bedford.
It arrived in its case, accompanied by The Guardians of Our Lady.
Mary Frost, 68, from Bedford, one of six guardians, said: ‘We travel with the relic encouraging other parishes into the country to take the relic.’
Prayers were said as it was greeted by Canon Dominic Golding, Dean of the Cathedral.
He said: ‘I’m delighted that it’s come to Portsmouth because it provides us with an opportunity to think about the sanctity of life.’
Andrew Hinde, national co-ordinator of the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, said: ‘We’re hoping that while the relic is here in Portsmouth many people will come on pilgrimage.
‘It’s a digital copy of the original image which has been touched against the original image and is here with the same powers and the same miraculous intentions.’
During its stay in Portsmouth, the image will be guarded by Brothers.
Brother Michael Gallagher, from Fleet, said: ‘It means a great deal – it’s the first real relic we have had in the area to come and see.’
Freida Desuza came from Newbury to see the relic.
She said: ‘It’s fantastic. You can see many things in the image.’