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Nicaraguans turn saint’s holiday into peace march

The typical hullabaloo of the Augustinian festivities accompanied the image of Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Saint Dominic, a 12th century Spaniard who is the patron saint of Managua), this Wednesday, on his arrival in the capital with a marked atmosphere of prayer and recollection of the parishioners who prayed for a peaceful solution to the political crisis that is affecting Nicaragua since mid-April.

Thousands of Nicaraguans marched, prayed and danced during this year’s August 1 celebration.

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“Today I come to ask Santo Domingo for real peace to come to Nicaragua, to end all this we are living, this fear, and that the Government has the will to hear the people so that all this (violence) is over, ” said Claudia María Rodríguez, 78, from the San Sebastián neighborhood of Managua.

The old woman, who on August 1 celebrated 40 years of dancing before the image of Santo Domingo, accompanied the saint during the ten hours that the procession, from Las Sierritas to the church of Santo Domingo in the historic center of Managua. She pointed out that she was motivated by two reasons: to pay a promise for a favor received through the intercession of ‘Minguito’ when she was 38 years old and to pray for the country to come out of the crisis today.

In the pilgrimage, also heard were expressions of support for the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference, who have acted as mediators and witnesses of the national dialogue.

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‘Vaquitas’, ‘diablitos’, ‘inditas’ and other typical characters that accompany the procession of Minguito were not lacking, but this time, in addition to dancing, there was prayer.

This celebration, the number 133 that Managua dedicates to its patron, was summoned by the Catholic Church under the motto “with Santo Domingo de Guzmán we made a pilgrimage with Hope”, in reference to the political situation in Nicaragua.

Another particularity of the procession was the cut of the time. The pauses to dance to the saint did not exceed 15 minutes, but they were fulfilled in the points that the tradition dictates.

Due to the situation of insecurity in the country, Father Boanerges Carballo explained that the passage of the procession was accelerated “so that most of the people can return to their homes in the light of day”.

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The National Police kept a low profile, maintained little presence during the Santo Domingo procession and lacked the security around the image, as it traditionally did.

The mayor of Managua, Reyna Rueda, did not attend either.

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