Mexicans relying on religion to break addictions

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Mexico City, July 28 (IANS) Some Mexicans are turning to their faith to break their dependence on alcohol or drugs by taking oaths to the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose basilica here receives some 200 devotees each day who swear to leave their addictions behind.

“It’s impressive the number of people who come to take their oath. Each day we attend to about 200 people,” Father Raymundo Maya Paz, the 59-year-old canon of the Basilica de Guadalupe told Efe news

All sorts of people come to the church to promise to correct their course in life and live more healthily because “the Virgin of Guadalupe is a very big magnet that attracts them to find an incentive in their lives”, he said.

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The trickle of the faithful increases to some 2,000 on the weekends, and the phenomenon is especially noteworthy on Mondays and during the first two weeks of January, after the Christmas holidays, he said.

“After the weekend and in the first half of January, there are huge numbers: men, women, young people, adults, single people, married people, widows and widowers, from all social levels.”

Tonatiuh, 20, came to the basilica with his wife and mother-in-law to promise not to drink alcohol or steal for 45 days, a period that will end just before the Mexican Independence Day celebration in September.

His friend Arturo, 29, made the same promise after a decade during which, he admitted, he had become used to drinking almost every day.

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Alcohol, tobacco and drug problems are the ones most prevalent among those who come to the chapel, but there are other dependencies as well, including gambling, internet addiction, pornography, lying and others, the priest said.

Once they make their alliance with the Virgin, and to help them keep their promises, the chapel offers the faithful the support of a special group to help them stay on the straight and narrow.



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