of St. Regis
Bienvenidos a la Parroquia
de San Regis
St. Regis Parish at 3235 Parkview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4597 US - Our Lady of Coromoto/Nuestra Señora de Coromoto
Our Lady of Coromoto/Nuestra Señora de Coromoto
The statue of Our Lady of Coromoto is featured at the back of St. Regis Church. In 1591, when the city of Guanare (capital of Portuguesa state) was founded, the Indian tribe who inhabited the region, the Cospes, fled to the north jungle. Then the evangelization of that lands began. The first apparition of the Virgin Mary was in the forest where the Cospes had fled to, on September 8, 1652, when the Virgin appeared to the Cacique (ruler) of the Cospes, Coromoto and his wife, saying in his own language: "Go to the white house and ask them to pour water into their head to go to heaven"; then, the Virgin asked him and his tribe to be baptized. According to the oral tradition, Cacique Coromoto told the encomendero don Juan Sánchez about this vision, saying that after eight days of a brief teaching of cathecism, the entire tribe would had been ready to receive baptism.
Several indigenous Cospes converted and were baptized, but not the chief, because he did not feel at ease: under a new religion he feared not to be recognized as the legitimate chief. Indian Chief Coromoto fled, and took refuge in the forest. The Virgin appeared to him again, and Chief Coromoto, blinded by anger, raised his arm to order the apparition to grab and go. This appearance was confirmed by a miraculous mark made of wood fibers, which were then searched and found. The relic is venerated today in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Coromoto.
Cacique Coromoto told the story that he was bitten by a poisonous snake and returned to Guanare wounded and near death, and began to ask in order to receive baptism, which was administered in Barinas region. He got baptized, became an apostle of Christianity and asked the remnant of the group of rebel Cospes Indian under his command to be baptized. Then, after several years, the Chied Coromoto, now with the Christian name of Angel Custodio, died at good old age.
In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared Our Lady of Coromoto the Patroness of Venezuela. Pope John Paul II was crowned in his visit to the Marian shrine in Guanare, and Pope Benedict XVI elevated the National Shrine of Our Lady of Coromoto to the rank of Minor Basilica.