XXV anniversary of the Pontifical Coronation of the Virgin of Saliente

The Diocesan Shrine of the Saliente is experiencing its most special evening on the occasion of the XXXV Anniversary of the Pontifical Coronation.

By Francisco Castillo



Last Sunday night was filled with music, emotion and fervour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Pontifical Coronation of the Pequeñica. The presentation of the poster, the bulletin, the youth project for the Jubilee and, above all, the moving presentation of the “Medals of Patronage” to nine award winners.


A cloister full of guests and music

While the incomparable skies of the Roel turned violet with the colours of the evening and flocks of birds flew around the eighteenth-century corners, music floated through the arcades of the Cloister of the Diocesan Sanctuary of the Saliente. Specially decorated for the occasion, the numerous seats were gradually filled.

The mayoress of Alboja, María del Mar Alfonso Pérez, with all her councillors; the mayor of Oria, Marcos Reche Galera; the provincial deputies José Antonio García Alcaína and Ana Lourdes Ramírez Ridao; the territorial delegate of the Junta de Andalucía, Antonio Bartolomé Mena Rubio and the justice of the peace of the town, María del Carmen García Morales. In addition, almost all the brotherhoods, brotherhoods, mayordomías, cultural and sporting associations of Alboja were present. Brotherhoods from the nearby villages of Macael, Somontín and Tíjola also attended. The parish priests of Santa María de Albox, Don Antonio José Villegas Romero, and of Santa María de Cazorla, Don Antonio Garrido Colomina, completed the ecclesiastical representation. And, in unique wooden seats, the nine new recipients of the awards.

The volunteer Natalia Carrillo Reche led the evening, accompanied by the music of the Trio Da Music Group. In addition to the music, the Albojense actor Juan Luis Montoya Valle proclaimed several texts of Benedict XVI, in homage to the recently deceased Pontiff.

A superb poster by Don José Cabrera Lasso de la Vega and a new edition of the Bulletin

Francisco José Castillo Caparrós, in charge of Communications at the Shrine, unveiled the impressive poster by the Sevillian artist José Cabrera Lasso de la Vega. As the volunteer Miguel Ángel Reche Berbel defined it: “It is, therefore, a Virgin with child, in the hope of the birth that triumphs over the evil that takes the form of a dragon and lies in wait for the coming of the King of kings, the one who will rule all nations from the throne of God”.

The same poster, which has since presided over the evening, is on the cover of the second issue of the Bulletin of the Diocesan Shrine of the Saliente. The veteran journalist and volunteer, Don Antonio Pardo Díaz, conscientiously presented this publication which records all the activities and brings together various publications, including one by the renowned poet Don Juan José Ceba.

A Jubilee Offering with a young and participative spirit

When the guests had not yet been overwhelmed by the impact of the beautiful poster, an oil on panel with innovative Salientine iconography, the young members of the group “El Ajuar de la Pequeñica” presented their project for the next Jubilee Holy Year 2025. Doña María del Saliente García Segovia, showed the sketch of the embroiderer from Granada, José Manuel Martínez Hurtado, for the creation of a banner of eighteenth-century inspiration. Embroidered on blue velvet, almond blossoms and basil branches will surround the painting of the Pequeñica, together with the inevitable representations of the sun and the moon.

As the volunteer Don Manuel Jesús Sánchez Reche explained: “It is our wish that this project will be an offering of love to the Pequeñica, the “Simpecado de los Peregrinos” and that it will be unveiled as mentioned above in the year 2025. To collaborate you can buy the products that are already available during the events of the Pilgrimage and in various establishments in Albox, which have altruistically offered to collaborate: bracelets, stamps, fans, ceramic magnets with this year’s poster and calendars with the image of our Mother. A small piece of the Simpecado can also be offered for a donation of €10 or €25 on the design of the Simpecado”.

In this way, the young people of Alboja are trying to make up for the glaring absence of banners at the Sanctuary. In the past, especially after the great pilgrimage of 1878 organised by Bishop José María Orberáy Carrión, it was customary to offer banners to the Pequeñica. All of them perished during the Religious Persecution of the 20th century in Spain, and it is all the more reason to offer her a particularly valuable one to commemorate the more than two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.

A “Patronage Medals” with varied accents and a lot of emotion.

The most emotional moment was when, finally, the secretary of the Sanctuary, Mr. Juan Navarrete Ortega, called the winners to collect their “Patronage Medals”. All of them received affectionate applause and took the floor to express their gratitude for this recognition.

The first was Don Diego Carrillo Granero, president of the Cultural and Sports Association “Somos Albojenses”, who has done so much for the digital diffusion of the Sanctuary for many years. The next award was presented to Mr. José León Jiménez Oller, master builder of the Sanctuary, and was collected by his son Mr. Javier Jiménez Conchillo. It was then received by Don Francisco Carrasco Pérez, architect and curator of the Sanctuary who – during his words of thanks – splendidly described the struggle of recent years in the rehabilitation of the temple.

Doña Juana Rodríguez Asensio, together with her children Doña Juana, Don Santiago and Doña Pilar also received the award for their commitment to this rehabilitation. In addition, in the case of Doña Pilar, for having given the II Exaltation of the Pilgrimage last year, which, due to its testimonial character and beauty, is still remembered by those who had the privilege of listening to it. All of them responded with emotional thanks, evoking their vital bond with the Sanctuary and their childhood neighbourliness with it.

The Cosentino Group, an important patron of the new flooring of the temple, received this distinction from its Global Commercial Director, Mr. Eduardo Martínez – Cosentino Alfonso. Disregarding any formality, Mr Eduardo spoke openly about the ties that unite his family with the Sanctuary.

Finally, the artist and academic Andrés García Ibáñez – after receiving his well-deserved award – shared his thoughts about the Shrine, which has been his residence during the months in which he painted its vaults. He emphatically defended the continuity of the current project dreamt of by Bishop Claudio Sanz y Torres in 1764. And, provoking the admiration of the audience, he put forward the thesis that the entire ornamental programme of the Sanctuary is based on the engravings drawn by the great Dürer in 1489.

The Rector’s speech, a solemn Salve and a cocktail to round off the event.

The Rector, Don Antonio Jesús María Saldaña Martínez, also spoke words of thanks: “All of this year’s prize-winners are united by this project which – as my dear Andrés García Ibáñez described it – is a “blessed folly”. Together with the new award winners, I would also like to thank all of you who give small and large services to this Shrine, with efforts that do not always attract attention, but in which our vitality resides”. And later, he affirmed: “I am not unaware that the ultimate motivations and the very itineraries of each of the people involved are multiple and even contradictory. But, in short, they are all based on the profound communion that springs from gratuitousness”.

A solemn Salve, officiated by the parish priest of the town of Cazorla in the ephemeral chapel of the Cloister which hosts the liturgical celebrations during the work on the church, served to congratulate the Pequeñica on this anniversary. The organist of the Sanctuary, Doña Rosabel Oller Sevilla, took care of the beautiful hymns that were sung.

Finally, a longed-for cocktail served by the Hospedería – Restaurante del Saliente on the second of the terraces of the Roel, put the finishing touch to this evening which constitutes the starting signal for the solemn services which will continue until the 8th of October in honour of Our Lady of the Forsaken of the Buen Retiro del Saliente Coronada.

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