Traditions shape deep devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Isaac Quinonez, a parishioner at Cathedral of the Epiphany, said the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is so significant because it is a celebration on which the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ chose Mexico as her home.
“It’s an event that fills my heart with pride and gratefulness for the love that Our Lady of Guadalupe has shown to us always,” he said. “It means to me that God through her image as the Holy Mother of Christ wants us to be humble like her and never lose our faith and compassion for others.”
Quinonez said it was important to carry on the traditions associated with this feast day because it can help them remember the great love she has for the people of this continent and they can pass this important celebration on to their children.
The feast day is so significant, he said, “Because it took place in our continent, our homeland, in Mexico. The mother of God chose our land and therefore we have to follow her image and example with love for all.”
Fernando Sanchez, a parishioner at St. Rose of Lima in Denison, helps to plan the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration there. He noted that celebrating the feast day is a tradition that is nearly 500 years in the making for Mexicans, but added that it is gaining in popularity throughout the world.
“We pray to her so that she can take the prayers to God,” he said. “She is a great intercessor.”
Sanchez explained that the Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Guadalupe are the same. When Mary appeared in Mexico, he said her image featured the colors of that country.
Even here in the United States, various celebrations are held. Oftentimes there are gatherings with food, dancing and sometimes plays featuring the story of the virgin of Guadalupe. Another popular entertainment at Guadalupe celebrations is mariachi bands and once again that will be a feature of the festivities at St. Rose of Lima.
One of the unique attractions in Denison is the Running of the Faith, in which many teenagers and young adults participate. It stresses the importance of having faith in Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
“Different communities celebrate the feast day differently,” said Sanchez, who extended gratitude to everyone who helps them continue to celebrate their cultural and religious traditions.
Father Doug Klein, pastor at the parishes in Sioux Center and Rock Valley, explained that one of the traditions associated with this feast day is Hispanic families taking an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from house to house for 46 days. Oftentimes the families host a rosary in their homes.
“For Hispanic people, it’s the sense that they are having a visit from Our Lady in their homes,” he said.
Diego Castelan, a parishioner at Christ the King in Sioux Center, said that just recently the image of Guadalupe visited his parents’ home. That visit provides the opportunity for family and friends to gather together in prayer.
“Growing up, as a little kid, when it came around to the time for the festival for the Virgin Mary, it was always something personal. We have always been taught that she is the symbol of a mother, of strength, of support,” he said. “Whether you are in danger or you are sick, it’s nice to look to her to help you get to her son.”
Castelan said in this day and age it can be hard to keep traditions alive but the visits by the image and the celebrations can be a means to involved people in the faith.
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