MEXICO CITY – Fans of the Mexican national soccer team can send up their prayers for the team’s good fortune in the 2018 World Cup Russia with Santo Niño de los Milagros (The Holy Child of Miracles), also known as the Santo Niño footballer, housed in San Gabriel Arcangel Church, in the Mexican capital.
At San Gabriel Arcangel Church, located in the Tacuba neighborhood, in the west of the city, Mexican parishioners “entrust” the Holy Child “to help the Tricolor” in their quest for victory in the World Cup.
“The Holy Child image is open to the public throughout the year,” the seminarian Jorge Valdes said on Tuesday.
Generally, people who ask for intercession from the Holy Child are the mothers of sick children, those who are hospitalized or those who will undergo an operation, as well as women who will give birth, he said.
“They would ask him for a child, and when their child is born, they would thank God and they would bring him a toy or a robe as a gift. And when it’s the World Cup, people would bring him a ball or a shirt from a team from the Mexican league or from the Mexican national team,” he explained.
Valdes said that since the 1986 World Cup Mexico, a group of parishioners proposed dressing the Holy Child as a soccer player so that people could ask him for his “divine” support.
The parish priest Jose Reyes Chaparro, now retired, said the idea helped bring the not-so-religious soccer fans to mass, as they would come to the church to pray for help for the Tricolor.
“They come and cross themselves in front of the Holy Child. People ask him to bless the Tricolor players. Groups of fans of the local tournament teams also come here to pray for a win,” Valdes said.
Mexico is part of Group F in the World Cup 2018 and will face Germany on June 17, South Korea on June 23 and Sweden on June 27.
For all three games, the Holy Child will be dressed in white, green and black jerseys, which have been prepared already.
The Santo Niño de los Milagros “was born” in 1970, when priest Reyes commissioned a sculptor to create an image that was the size of a real one-month-old baby.
Since then, the people of Tacuba as well as other places have brought him toys and baby clothes during the December festivities, as well as on Children’s Day, which is celebrated in Mexico every April 30.