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British army returns Falkland image of Virgin of Luján to Argentinians


Pope Francis witnesses this historical moment: Argentinians and British met at St. Peter's Square. This was thanks to this scultpure of the Virgin of Luján that was in the Falklands until 1982, when it was taken to the United Kingdom.

VICENTE MARTÍNEZ TORREN
Military chaplain
“This image accompanied us during all of the Masses in those 74 days that the war lasted. Returning it home means a lot to us.”

It will have been 37 years since it's returned to Argentina.

MSGR. SANTIAGO OLIVERA
Military bishop of Argentina
“This image represents the surrenders, heart, suffering, and joys of the men who were in the Falklands War. We know we lost much in this war, but in this case, at least we gained the value of feeling like children of the same God.”

MSGR. PAUL MASON
Military bishop of England and Wales
“We share a faith, a Catholic faith, with people in Argentina, and in the cathedral in Aldershot. We've been praying for the people in Argentina, and I'm sure they've been praying for us as well, so it's been a good way of coming together.”

A group of Argentinian veterans requested the return of the image. Of the veterans, Jorge Palacios fondly recalls the protection of the Virgin when a bomb fell 20 feet away.

JORGE PALACIOS
Argentinan soldier
“I haven't seen the image in 37 years. When I saw it again, tears of emotion ran down my face for the protection she gave us, particularly me, during the Falklands War.”

However, Our Lady of Luján is not leaving the United Kingdom. The Argentinan delegation gave the military bishop of England a new image, which the pope complimented.

It's even more beautiful!

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translated: Rachel Dobrzynski