Santuario de los Martires de Cristo Rey | Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
At a first glance, El Santuario de los Martires de Cristo Rey stroke me as a very intriguing marvel of modern architecture with mega futuristic vibes. Located in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, on top of Cerro del Tesoro, the sanctuary is the largest religious center in the Americas and the 3rd largest in Mexico; the other two are La Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City and the Cristo Rey Sanctuary in Cerro del Cubilete, Silao.
The center was designed by a 100% Mexican team of engineers, designers and architects and it’s dedicated to all Mexican saints, missionaries and martyrs who fought religious persecution and even lost their lives practicing and defending Christianity during the Cristero War of 1926-1929. In addition to being a place of prayer, reflection and pilgrimage, it will also serve as a charity and social assistance center once it will be completed.
The project was approved in 2001, but due to financing issues construction work didn’t start until 2007. An exact completion date has not been established, but we do know that so far approximately 70% of the work has been completed. The budget was initially estimated at 1 billion Mexican pesos but the total kept being adjusted over the years as construction went on to almost double the initial amount.
The funds came in majority in the form of contributions from local businesses and individuals, as cash donations, construction materials and workforce; in 2008, the Governor of Jalisco, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez approved a highly substantial donation to the ongoing project that ended up being returned due to criticism over the fact that it belonged to the state. In recent months, the current Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, recognized the importance of the sanctuary to the future of religious tourism in the area of Guadalajara and highlighted the state’s support of the project via the infrastructure initiatives in the surrounding areas like the Macro Periferico or Line 4 of the light rail going to Tlajomulco.
Spearheaded by the Engineer Hector Castellanos Frank, the center’s total capacity will be 40,000 people; aside from the church itself, the plans include a parking lot for 2,000 cars and 100 buses, an auditorium, a conference dedicated space, a hospital for low income individuals, a nursing school and a martyr museum. The painted glass wall of 44 by 53 meters height, designed by the Benedictine monk Fray Gabriel Chavez de la Mora and executed by a local family business in Tepatitlan, displays an array of colors symbolizing the ultimate sacrifice of the Son of God but also hope, light and the celebration of the Resurrection.
Even though the project is not 100% completed, the church is open for Sunday mass service and a few other religious events, based on availability. I believe the best way to connect with them at the moment is via their Facebook page as I wasn’t able to locate an official website.
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