May 21, 2020 / 6:15 PM / 6 days ago

In Peru, Virgin Mary statue parades city under lockdown by helicopter

TRUJILLO, Peru, May 21 (Reuters) - Every five years, a statue of the Virgin of Socorro is paraded through the streets of Peru’s third-largest city, Trujillo.

But this year, the coronavirus lockdown meant the city’s patron saint could not make her rounds as usual.

So the archbishop took to the skies on Wednesday with the Virgin Mary statue - in a helicopter.

The statue of the Virgin of Socorro (“Our Lady of Help”) was placed by the police helicopter’s window for the city tour, so that she could offer a blessing to the northern Peruvian city’s nearly 1 million residents.

Priests accompanied the statue on the flight, praying for an end to the coronavirus pandemic and for the safety of frontline workers.

Down below, delighted residents waved to the venerated image as the priests threw roses out of the aircraft.

The archbishop expressed gratitude after the aerial tour.

“We are grateful for the devotion to the Most Holy Virgin of Our Lady of Socorro, protector of the city of Trujillo,” said Monsignor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte. “We have toured the entire city of Trujillo and the surroundings - an hour and a half of travel.”

The Virgin of Socorro first made her appearance in Peru in 1537, and believers say she ended the bubonic plague in Trujillo in 1674.

The tradition of the procession dates back to 1681.

Reporting by Reuters TV Editing by Matthew Lewis and Rosalba O'Brien

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