World

Thousands and thousands of pilgrims crowd Mexico City basilica to honor Virgin of Guadalupe

  • A pilgrim pauses as he crosses on his knees, the main doors of the Basilica of Guadalupe as others carry images of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Pilgrims gathered at the basilica for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

    A pilgrim pauses as he crosses on his knees, the main doors of the Basilica of Guadalupe as others carry images of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Pilgrims gathered at the basilica for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man carries an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe as other pilgrims begin to wake up as they wait for mass after spending the night in the main patio of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country converge on Mexico's holy Roman Catholic site, many bringing with them images or statues of Mexico's patron saint to be blessed, marking the Virgin's Dec. 12 feast day.  (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

    A man carries an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe as other pilgrims begin to wake up as they wait for mass after spending the night in the main patio of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country converge on Mexico's holy Roman Catholic site, many bringing with them images or statues of Mexico's patron saint to be blessed, marking the Virgin's Dec. 12 feast day. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)  (The Associated Press)

  • A small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was brought by a pilgrim stands inside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Pilgrims gathered at the basilica for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

    A small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was brought by a pilgrim stands inside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015. Pilgrims gathered at the basilica for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)  (The Associated Press)

Men, women and children are flooding into the area around Mexico City's basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the country's patron saint.

Faithful from across Mexico and from other nations have been arriving at the basilica all week for the annual celebration. But the biggest crowd was Saturday, the saint's day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

City officials estimate more than 5.5 million pilgrims already visited the basilica this week and hordes are still coming.

People young and old, able bodied and not, often walk or roll in wheelchairs many miles (kilometers) to get to the basilica to fulfill a pledge or a penance. Some creep along on their knees.

Thousands camped out on the huge plaza at the basilica complex Friday night to be there for Saturday's Mass.