December 1, 2016  |  By:   |  Archbishop Gomez, Press Releases  |  


Los Angeles is home to the only relic of the “tilma” (cloak) where the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared outside of Mexico City

This year marks the 485th anniversary of the miraculous apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City, in December 1531, when she left her image on his “tilma” or cloak. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles in downtown Los Angeles is home to the only relic of the tilma outside of Mexico City’s Basilica, providing faithful in Southern California the unique opportunity to be in the presence of the miraculous image without having to travel to Mexico. The image of Virgin of Guadalupe has been a symbol of unity, peace, compassion, and hope for people around the world.

During the homily at a recent interfaith prayer service at the Cathedral, Archbishop José H. Gomez invited all to pray for peace and unity saying, “may Our Lady of Guadalupe — the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all the peoples of the Americas — may she watch over us and help us to truly become one nation under God.”

Over the coming days, tens of thousands of faithful throughout Southern California will celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe, leading up to her feast day on December 12.

This weekend members of Southern California parish communities will prepare for the 85th Annual Procession and Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in East L.A. The pilgrim images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego will make the final stops of their 40+ parish journey, which began in September, throughout the tri-county Archdiocese (Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara). Virgin of Guadalupe devotees from local parishes will build and decorate floats for participation in Sunday’s event.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, tens of thousands of faithful are expected to attend the annual procession and Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles. A large-scale outdoor Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Gomez at 1:00 p.m. at East L.A. College Stadium. The mile-long procession will include colorful floats, equestrian groups, mariachis, indigenous dancers, and Catholic school students escorting La Peregrina, the official Archdiocesan pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, is an exact digital reproduction of the original image in Mexico City’s Basilica, which has been blessed and touched to the original image.

Festivities continue the following week with the annual “nochesitas” celebration and midnight Mass at Cathedral to honor the Virgin on the eve of her Feast Day, December 11 and special Masses on December 12 (full schedule here). A half-inch square relic of the tilma, the only piece in the United States, is enshrined at a gilded chapel inside the Cathedral. The relic was a present to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the Archbishop of Mexico City in appreciation and friendship after Los Angeles Archbishop John J. Cantwell led a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in the early 1940s, during the Cristero War.

Given the natural agave fibers used to make the tilma, experts say it is miraculous that the relic at the Cathedral, and the rest of the tilma in Mexico City, have survived for almost five centuries.

Following is a detailed list of activities:

Pilgrimage of images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego continues through December 4.

  • Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. – Pilgrim images visit to Resurrection Parish in Boyle Heights

The pilgrim images will visit Resurrection Church (3324 East Opal Street, 90023) on Thursday, December 1. Faithful will participate in a welcoming procession, which will include traditional dances, followed by a Mass for the sick celebrated by church pastor, Msgr. John Moretta.

  • Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. – Pilgrimage of images continues at St. Andrews Parish in Pasadena

The faithful of St. Andrews Parish (311 North Raymond Ave., Pasadena 91103) will welcome the pilgrim images on Friday, December 2, as part of the last leg of the pilgrimage in preparation for the 85th Annual Procession and Mass in East Los Angeles on Sunday, December 4. The festivities at St. Andrews include a procession walking north on Raymond Ave. from Walnut Ave. with Aztec and Matachines dancers, followed by a bilingual Mass at 7:00 p.m. celebrated by church pastor Father Paul Sustayta. The Guadalupanas group will hold a food sale after the Mass.  

  • Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. – Pilgrimage of images ends with Mass at Our Lady of Solitude in East L.A.

A Mass at Our Lady of Solitude Church in East L.A. (4561 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022) with Aztec and Matachine dancers will end the pilgrimage. After the Mass, members of the church’s youth ministry will prepare and decorate the “anda” or cart where the images will be transported during the procession on Sunday, Dec. 4.

Dec. 3 – 2-5 p.m. – Preparation of floats for Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession in East LA

Faithful of Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights (323-268-1141), St. Marcellinus Church in Commerce (323-269-2733) and Our Lady of Solitude in East Los Angeles (323-362-3469) will start decorating the floats that will participate in the December 4 procession in East L.A.

Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. – Procession and Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Protector of Family”

In honor of the family, center of society, the theme this year of the annual Guadalupe Procession and Mass is “Protector of Family.” For the 85th time, the parishes of the Archdiocese will begin the Dec. 4 celebration with a procession at 10:30 a.m., which starts at the corner of Cesar Chavez and the Long Beach Freeway (710). The procession concludes at East Los Angeles College Stadium with a massive outdoor Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gomez at 1:00 p.m., followed by entertainment, including a Mariachi and special singers. For more information about the Guadalupe Procession, please visit http://archla.org/guadalupe.

Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. – Annual “nochesitas” celebration to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe at Cathedral

The annual celebration will be held in Spanish at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles, starting at 7 p.m. with traditional dances at Cathedral’s Plaza, followed by a 10 p.m. Rosary and Mariachi performance; 11 p.m. Musical Tribute and Las Mañanitas; and ending with the 12 a.m. midnight Mass presided by Archbishop Gomez.