February 2019 - Mazatlan Mexico
I had been looking at a map of the La Gaviotas area and spotted a church called Parroquia la Sagrada Familia which made me think of the infamous Gaudi Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
So we took a walk today to find it.
Unlike Barcelona this is just a small neighbourhood church.
One of the more exotic saints that Mexico has made its own is San Charbel Makhlouf, a 19th century Maronite Christian monk and hermit from Lebanon.
Introduced in relatively recent times by Lebanese immigrants, he has achieved a popularity beyond the Lebanese community, and his shrines and altars can be found in numerous churches across Mexico.
In recognition of his widespread following he was beatified and later canonized by Pope John Paul ll in the 1970s.
He is usually shown as an imposing figure with a white beard, downcast eyes and both arms raised. He is invariably clad in a black, hooded robe.
A San Charbel tradition unique to Mexico is his devotees' custom of hanging colored ribbons (listones), inscribed with their wishes, from his handily outstretched arms, which immediately distinguishes him from other santos in the church.
And we scored a wedding. There were only the bride and groom, her parents, a flower girl and another couple. Chances are they were going to have a legal justice perform at the reception as we saw last weekend.
A marriage in Mexico is legal only if it is a civil ceremony performed at a local Civil Register Office (Oficina del Registro Civil). You can have a religious ceremony later.