Mass today in Cartago follows a chilly night

Most pilgrims walk to Cartago and the basilica there. There have been cases of pilgrims on horseback and others on skates.

Another traditional way to reach the basilica plaza today in time for Mass is by running. Police officers and other members of the  Ministerio de Seguridad Pública do that every year. They will be leaving the Parque Central in Curridabat at 7 a.m.

They will join tens of thousands who spent a chilly night there in prayer and enjoying entertainment provided by the Basilica de Los Ángeles.

The Mass today features speeches by high church and government officials. Typically, the

The flood of participants in the annual pilgrimage has to be seen to be believed.

The flood of participants in the annual pilgrimage has to be seen to be believed.

bishops are critical of the government for not doing enough for the poor, and the current president and others defend the state.

Traffic officials closed some of the main roads leading to Cartago Monday to provide space for the thousands of pilgrims.

At the basilica they waited in line in order to traverse the center aisle on their knees, sometimes five abreast.

Buses and the valley train will be waiting later this morning to begin bringing the many thousands back to their homes.

There have been no serious incidents. The security ministry said that 1,000 officers were on duty and that they confiscated just one knife and small amounts of drugs since July 22.

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