December 11, 2016  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

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–Faithful throughout Archdiocese and at Cathedral join nation in prayer for immigrant families–

–Celebration included a wide roster of international singers and veneration of the only relic in the U.S. of the tilma of St. Juan Diego–

Thousands of faithful packed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles tonight commemorating the 485th anniversary of the miraculous apparitions of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego. The festivities began with traditional dancers on the Cathedral Plaza and veneration of the relic of the tilma of St. Juan Diego, on which the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in 1531. The Cathedral is home to the only relic of the tilma outside of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The celebrations culminated with midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

“I always look forward to this celebration of our love for our Blessed Mother. This year is a time when things are changing in our country and people are uncertain and feel afraid. But we know that Our Lady of Guadalupe is with, and that she will protect our families and guide us. She always has and she always will,” said Archbishop Gomez. “This year also, the U.S. Bishops have declared the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe a national day of prayer for immigrants and refugees. The Church is our Mother, a living sign of Our Blessed Mother’s love for us, so we pray with great hope and joy, knowing that God is with us always.”

For nearly 500 years, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been the symbol of hope, peace and love, uniting peoples around the world as one family of God. Her feast day, December 12, has been designated as a national day of prayer and solidarity for immigrant families by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Tonight’s celebration began on the Cathedral Plaza at 7 p.m. with Aztec and Matachines dancers, followed by veneration of the tilma relic by the faithful, through offerings of prayer and flowers. At 10 p.m., the celebration moved inside the Cathedral for a special Rosary with invited guests accompanied by the Cathedral Spanish Choir, followed by a performance by Mariachi Los Toros.

The serenata or musical tribute to the Virgin included Regional Mexican singers Helen Ochoa and Jonatán Sánchez; winner of Telemundo’s contest La Voz Kids Angelito García; America’s Got Talent semi-finalist Alondra Santos; and pastoral singers Anna Betancourt, Estela García-López, and Jacky Ibarra accompanied by Stephanie Amaro de Abad, member of Latin Grammy® nominated Trio Ellas. The artists were joined by special guest, Mexican actor and singer Fernando Allende, to sing “Las Mañanitas,” a traditional Mexican birthday song to honor the Virgin on her Feast Day.

The celebration was made possible with the support of Catholic Communication Collaboration (C3) with Sprint, Guadalupe Radio, EWTN Español, Oregon Catholic Press, Tacos El Gavilán, Vallarta Supermarkets, and Dorado Design & Construction Inc.

The celebration in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe will continue at Cathedral on her Feast Day, Monday December 12 with traditional dancers and Mariachi inside of the Cathedral at 6:30 p.m., followed by a special Mass at 7 p.m.

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