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‘Deep in the hearts of our people’

Diocesan News
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The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe creates joy, reverence among Catholics

By Lynne De La Torre

 Every year, on December 12th, parishes around the Diocese of San Bernardino celebrate the historical event that took place in Mexico in 1531; the day when the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Juan Diego.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe draws crowds, instills joy, and unites Catholics around the world in processions, prayers, singing, and dancing. 

 At parishes, this day was once again characterized by early dawn mananitas, processions and dramatizations in addition to the Holy Mass. Riverside area parishioners were among the thousands who processed to the top of Mt. Rubidoux on Dec. 9. Thousands more spent Dec. 12 on a 30-mile walk from Palm Springs to Coachella in tribute to Our Lady.

 “Our Lady of Guadalupe is deep in the hearts of our people because she stands with the poor and for the poor,” said Father Guy Wilson, ST, Pastor of Our Lady of Soledad Parish in Coachella.  

 Having Mary, the Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, appear to the indigenous people of Mexico fills the hearts of many Catholics with pride. 

 On this Feast Day, we are called to reflect on the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego, “Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not in the crossing of my arms?” 

 Our Lady of Guadalupe has made herself one with the people of Mexico, as she has in Lourdes, Medjugorje, and different parts of the world. The love Mary has for her children is inexplicable. 

 “There are no words to explain what one feels for her, I become filled with emotion, pride, gratitude,” said María Dolores Peña, a parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, Riverside. 

 As the music filled the air and the dancers moved in synchronization around the front steps of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Catholic Church in Riverside, the coordinator of the Guadalupe Festivities, Jorge Peña, reflected on the hard work done to honor Mary. 

 “We give a beautiful testimony of what our faith and our culture are…When coordinating these festivities, there is a lot of stress, there are many sleepless nights, and it is a lot of work, but today, it was all worth it. Today there is only joy, seeing so many happy faces, and people who have come to visit us with much devotion and faith. That is my reward.” 

  It is in the work that one does in the ministries that they are a part of that show gratitude and faithfulness. A grateful heart has a lot to offer. 

 At every Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe you can see families entering the parishes, laying down flowers by the image of Our Lady, and silently praying together. It stirs the heart to know that God wishes to be closer to us, and He has done so through Mary. She took form of the indigenous people of Mexico as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and has called us her children. 

 Although flowers are gifted to her, “Our Lady has sent beautiful flowers, not all roses, but beautiful flowers, and that is all of you,” Bishop Gerald Barnes told the Diocesan Pastoral Center Staff during the Feast Day Mass there. Later that evening, Bishop Barnes traveled to Mecca to celebrate Mass with the people of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.