December 8, 2014  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

ABG Roses for La Virgen Dec072014

Thousands of devotees from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties marched down East Los Angeles streets today to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, in the 83rd Annual Procession and Mass.

The mile-long procession–the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles–included colorful floats, equestrian groups, mariachis, indigenous dancers, and uniformed Catholic school students escorting the Peregrina, the official archdiocesan pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Many wore red and green attire to resemble the flag of Mexico where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego.

“Today we gather to once again say to Our Lady of Guadalupe: ‘We are a family united under your mantle. ‘We place ourselves under your loving protection and care, under the mantle of your love,'” said Archbishop Jose Gomez during the Mass homily.

The procession began at the steps of Our Lady of Solitude Church and ended at East Los Angeles College Stadium  in Monterey Park. White doves were released as the Peregrina entered the stadium, where Archbishop Gomez celebrated a special Mass in her honor.

Sunday’s Mass also included a musical line-up of traditional songs in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe performed by award-winning Mexican singer Miriam Solis and several mariachi groups. At the end of Mass, the faithful venerated the blessed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with roses.

The Peregrina is a digital reproduction of the original image, which has survived for nearly five centuries, housed in Mexico City’s Basilica. The reproduction, blessed by the late St. Pope John Paul II, was a gift to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the Basilica.

In 1531, the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexico native, at Tepeyac, Mexico, and asked him to build a church on a hilltop. She miraculously left her image on his cloak, or tilma, which he presented to the bishop as proof of her request. Since then, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a symbol of faith, unity and hope for people all over the world.

This year’s pilgrimage of the framed images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego began Oct. 3 at St. Joseph Church in Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County. The faithful from more than 20 parishes and three detention centers in the tri-county Archdiocese welcomed the images with worship services and parish celebrations, leading up to today’s procession and Mass in East L.A.

“We are a family in the Church. A family of families. And our families are so important! In God’s plan of love for the world, the family is a sacred reality — a gift that God has given to us for our happiness and for the happiness of our society.”

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