Nicaraguan Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo visited San José last weekend to celebrate the gritería (shout), a 150-year-old Nicaraguan custom to honor the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, or “La Purísima”.
“I am here by invitation of the (Nicaraguan) Ambassador to celebrate La Purísima with the Nicaraguans (in Costa Rica) and our Costa Rican brothers and sisters who would like to join us,” he told reporters.
Obando y Bravo, Central America’s only cardinal, said he wished to send “a message of hope,” both to Costa Ricans and the growing migrant Nicaraguan population in their midst.
He said he hoped the joint Catholic celebration here would “unite us more, and help bring us peace.”
During the three-day trip, the cardinal also met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. “Costa Ricans are a noble people, always showing solidarity in times of need, such as instances of earthquakes and hurricanes,” the cardinal said.
Obando y Bravo’s visit comes at a time when Tico-Nica relations have wavered between lukewarm and frosty, charged with the thorny issues of immigration.