December 11, 2014  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

-Celebration included Latin Grammy talents El Dasa, Trio Ellas, Virgin of Guadalupe art projections, and veneration of the only relic in the U.S. of the tilma of St. Juan Diego 

 Thousands of devotees packed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles tonight in a celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe that culminated in a midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

“We gather again this year in the presence of the holy relic of the sacred tilma of St. Juan Diego. When we look upon her beautiful face, her tender eyes, we know that Our Lady of Guadalupe still goes with us — sharing our joys and our hopes, helping us in our sorrows and troubles,” said Archbishop Gomez. “As she did with St. Juan Diego, she still opens her arms to us with tender love, to give us comfort and guidance. So we thank God for this beautiful sign of his love in our lives.”

The event, presented by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Knights of Columbus, was held on the eve of her Feast Day, December 11, following a tradition in Mexico City where millions gather at the Basilica where the tilma, the cloth of St. Juan Diego where the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared, is displayed. A half-inch square 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 ballet folklorico performers, Aztec dancers, and video projections of art of the Virgin of Guadalupe by artist Lalo Garcia. During this time, the faithful lined up to venerate the tilma.

At 10 p.m., the celebration moved inside the Cathedral for a Rosary led by Mexican actress and singer Karyme Lozano, Dodgers’ radio anchor Jorge Jarrin, radio host Ignacio Sandoval, Rosa Gonzalez, of Vallarta Supermarkets, Linda Lopez, chief of L.A. Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs, and Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

At 11 p.m., Mariachi Los Toros 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 included special guest singers Dasahev López Saavedra, Latin Grammy award winner popularly known as “El Dasa”; Latin Grammy nominees Trio Ellas; Best New Christian Artist nominee Jacky Ibarra; Adrian Cruz, a San Fernando Valley singer discovered by Vicente Fernandez; and María Elena Macías, a Santa Clarita performer from Tecatitlán, a town in Jalisco, Mexico, famous for mariachi music. The festivities concluded with a midnight Mass presided by Archbishop Gomez.

The celebration was also made possible with the support of the Catholic Communication Collaboration (C3), Guadalupe Radio, El Gallo Giro Traditional Mexican Kitchen, Amapola Deli and Market, and Vallarta Supermarkets, Inc.

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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