Hundreds descend on West New York to pray after image of virgin saint spotted in tree
Jul 12, 2012 | 18500 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND -- An image that resembles la Virgen de Guadalupe (Mexico's version of the Virgin Mary) was spotted by West New York resident Eva Copantitla Tuesday as she was passing by a tree in front of the McDonald's on Bergenline Avenue and 60th Street. Copantitla then ran into Mayor Felix Roque's office around the corner in Town Hall to tell him the news.

Skeptical, Roque followed her to the tree and found a knot in the trunk that bore a remarkable resemblance to the iconic imagery of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Slowly, word spread, and crowds upwards of 100 people began to gather and pray around the tree.

The Police Department finally cordoned off the tree and the space around it in order to protect the praying crowd from Bergenline traffic. Hundreds of votive candles with the virgin's image were lit and placed around the tree, and devotees left photos of sick loved ones, baby shoes for protection, and other symbolic prayerful gestures.

Roque stood with Copantitla Thursday morning among the crowd who chanted prayers in front of the image in the tree.

"It's a miracle," Copantitla said in Spanish. "And it's so close to Town Hall. I believe it's a good sign for the mayor."

The mayor was recently arrested by the FBI for alleged computer hacking, involving a rival's "Recall Roque" web site.

After Copantitla made her comment, a red colored votive exploded from the heat of its own flame, startling the crowd.

"It's okay," one of the women said in Spanish. "Red is the color of the virgin's veil." -- Gennarose Pope

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