Santa Muerte
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PHOTOS: The sect of Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte
Members of Santa Muerte pray at Mass at Sanctuario Universal de la Santa Muerte, a store-front shrine on Alvarado Street in Los Angeles: “Angel created by faith, allow the power in me to be released.” (Axel Koester / For The Times)
Santiago Guadalupe
Santiago Guadalupe leads a service. His sermon stresses the importance of family and the evil of envy and gossip. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
A Santa Muerte blessing
Santiago Guadalupe, one of the sect’s leaders, bestows a blessing on Martha Ortega during Sunday afternoon services. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
Santa Muerte
The Santuario Universal de la Muerte is a store-front on Alvarado Street. Sect leaders characterize the practice in this country as benign. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
Patron saint
Jose Delgado wears his Santa Muerte pendant during services. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
Santa Muerte
Santiago Guadalupe, in white at left, leads followers of Santa Muerte in prayer at Santuario Universal de la Muerte. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
Tattoo
Sect member Guadalupe Fernandez has a tattoo of Santa Muerte. (Axel Koester / For The Times)
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