December 12, 2015  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

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 -Celebration included singers Adrian Cruz, Wendolee Ayala, Claudia Fernanda, Jacky Ibarra, and Mexican norteño band Los Ramones de Nuevo León, 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 in a celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe that culminated with midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

“The Virgin is the Mother of Mercy. She loves each one of us just like a mother does. She wants us to be happy, and that is why she shows us the way to Jesus, the way to God our Father,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Let’s ask our Holy Mother of Guadalupe to keep walking with us, that she may take us by the hand with her maternal tenderness and may she guide us through this path of Advent, until we find Jesus on the manger, in our hearts, in Christmas.”

The event, presented by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, was held on the eve of the Virgin of Guadalupe Feast Day, December 11, following a tradition in Mexico City where millions gather at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe where the tilma (cloak of St. Juan Diego where the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared) is displayed. A half-inch square relic of the tilma, the only piece in the United States, is enshrined at a gilded chapel inside the Cathedral.

Tonight’s celebration began on the Cathedral Plaza at 6 p.m. with Aztec and Matachines dancers. During this time, the faithful venerated the tilma relic through offerings of prayer and flowers.

At 10 p.m., the celebration moved inside the Cathedral for a Rosary led by emcees Lianna Rebolledo and Ernesto Vega; Noel Díaz, founder and president of ESNE TV Network; Father Nivardo Quezada, executive director of Hombre Nuevo and Guadalupe Radio; and other invited guests accompanied by the Cathedral Spanish Choir.

Mariachi Los Reyes and guest singers serenaded the Virgin and sung “Las Mañanitas,” a traditional Mexican birthday song to honor the Virgin on her Feast Day. This year’s musical tribute, or serenata, included performers Adrian Cruz, Wendolee Ayala, Claudia Fernanda, Jacky Ibarra and Mexican norteño (regional) band Los Ramones de Nuevo León. The festivities concluded with a midnight Mass presided by Archbishop Gomez, with gifts presented by Mexican singer and actor Diego Boneta and Mexican pop singer Sofia Reyes.

The celebration was also made possible with the support of El Gallo Giro Traditional Mexican Kitchen, Amapola Deli and Market, Vallarta Supermarkets, Inc., Guadalupe Radio, Estrella TV, and EWTN.

The celebration recalls the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico, in December 1531, when she left her image on his tilma, or cloak. A relic, or piece of the tilma inside the Cathedral 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. Given the natural agave fibers used to make the tilma, experts say it is miraculous that the relic at the Cathedral in Los Angeles, and the rest of the tilma in Mexico City, have survived for almost five centuries.

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**NOTE: Photos from the event can be made available upon request.**

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