The mysterious arrival of the Holy Family in Ciudad Guzman

The mysterious arrival of the Holy Family in Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco, Mexico, has always attracted attention.

In this town of more than 400,000 inhabitants, the Catholic tradition is deeply rooted, to the point that almost the entire population professes the religion led from the Vatican.

In this regard, Pope Francis accepted on May 4 the resignation of Bishop Oscar Armando Campos Contreras, 76, from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Ciudad Guzman, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and appointed as his successor Bishop Herculano Medina Garfias, 56, until now Auxiliary Bishop of Morelia.

Following the decision, the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico spread the news through a communiqué from the General Secretariat of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), and of course, joy in the city known for the mysterious arrival of the Holy Family.

The arrival of the Holy Family in Ciudad Guzman is linked to an oral tradition, as there are no official writings of who first brought St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary.

Ciudad Guzman is located about 120 kilometers south of Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco. With a population of more than 420,000 people, 95% of its inhabitants declare themselves Catholic.

The Spanish foundation of Ciudad Guzmán, with the name of Zapotlán, took place in 1533.

In 1856 the name was changed to Ciudad Guzmán, as a tribute to the military insurgent José Francisco Gordiano Guzmán.

It would not be until 1997 that the municipality would retake the name of Zapotlán el Grande, although the municipal seat continues to be called Ciudad Guzmán.

Mysterious Arrival of the Holy Family in Ciudad Guzmán

According to the website of the municipality of Zapotlán, about the mysterious arrival of the Holy Family in Ciudad Guzmán “the documents say and the tradition confirms it that Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary that accompanied him arrived to Zapotlán in a mysterious way, in 1747”.

After traveling the so-called Camino Real de Colima, which linked the west coast of Mexico in the current state of Colima, with the interior of the then Viceroyalty of New Spain, the images of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary arrived in Zapotlán.


“An unknown traveler, pulling a mule loaded with two crates, asked for lodging at the inn, unloaded the four-footed animal and rested. The unknown traveler perhaps picked up on the way some disease of care that forced him to leave the crates in charge to go in search of relief to some nearby town,” continues the account on the municipal website about the mysterious arrival of the Holy Family to Ciudad Guzman.

“The mysterious load and the mule were abandoned,” it states, as the mysterious man “never returned and after a few days no one showed up to pick them up or claim them.”

So, the villagers finally decided to “uncover the crates” and found “inside and well packed the beautiful sculptures; in one box that of St. Joseph, in the other, the Virgin Mary”.

After a while they were proclaimed “Patrons and Protectors of Zapotlán”.

On October 22, 1957 the images of St. Joseph, the Virgin of the Rosary and the Child Jesus received the pontifical coronation.

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