Archbishop José Gómez says that the intercession of the Virgin will help her files to have immigration reform

Tens of thousands of faithful from Southern California gathered in prayer for unity and peace during the 88th annual mass procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, at the beginning of the Advent season and waiting of the birth of the child Jesus, at Christmas.

“Santa María de Guadalupe is our mother who intercedes for us,” said the Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gómez, to La Opinión. “She will help us to have immigration reform soon; She protects us and helps us to be recognized as active participants in the life of this country. ”

Thousands of children, youth and adults from numerous parishes paraded from the intersection of Ford Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, to the College of Eastern Los Angeles (ELAC) where a bilingual mass was celebrated, officiated by Gomez and the concelebrants, David O'Connell and Alex Aclan, auxiliary bishops for the pastoral regions of San Gabriel and San Fernando, respectively.

The stands were filled during the celebration at the ELA school.

The Mass included songs in Tagalog from the Philippine choir of the parish of San Lino in Norwalk, songs were offered in Nahuatl, the language of San Juan Diego, to whom the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared, in December 1531. The members of the musical band of the San Emigdio church in Lynwood.

“My grandmother (Hortensia Hernández) taught me the devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe,” said Ruby Benítez, 17, who along with her mother María Benítez Flores represented three generations of devout women of the “Morenita del Tepeyac”.

This year, the Marian theme was “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Ark of Salvation,” which, according to Ernesto Vega, coordinator of the Pastoral and Evangelization Institute of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles means promoting Mary as the protector of the most vulnerable .

“Saint Mary of Guadalupe represents the life expectancy we find in Jesus Christ, our savior; she, mother of God and mother of Jesus is a symbol of universal motherhood that protects and loves her son, and as a woman she represents the mother who protects all mankind. ”

As is tradition, Latin girls were dressed in the mantle of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The one-mile procession featured numerous floats decorated with hundreds of multicolored roses by students from Catholic schools and parish groups from different ethnic communities within the Archdiocese.

"We decided to assemble our float in honor of life, which only belongs to God, from conception to death," said Carlos Castillo, a Guatemalan parishioner. "Mary is the Ark of Salvation because in her womb she carried Jesus, our savior."

In addition to the floats, the celebration was attended by mariachis, horse-riding charros, dance performers typical of Aztec concheros or the Guadalupe dance group from San Pedro and San Pablo de Wilmington parish.

"For 11 years we have participated," said Alonso Hernández. "The sound dance is originally from Sayula, Jalisco."

The parade of the devotees from Guadalajara is the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles. It was established in 1931 by Mexican Catholics who fled the religious persecution of Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles (1924-1928) during the Cristero War. At that time, the Mexican army killed and hanged some 70,000 to 85,000 and martyred and shot numerous priests such as Father Miguel Pro and the child Josee Luis Sánchez del Rio.

Mexican folklore and made present.

"I come every year to honor the virgin," said Hortensia Hernández, 65, originally from Guanajuato. And parishioner of the parish of San Gerardo of Culver City. “I used to dance to the Virgin, but now I only participate by praying the rosary and singing to her; I asked my husband (Guadalupe Hernández) to dress in San Juan Diego and he listened to me. ”

Ernesto Vega added that the Virgin of Guadalupe will particularly protect immigrants "who are suffering the most severe scourges of racism and discrimination."

The annual celebration commemorates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which recalls the miraculous apparitions of the Virgin Mary on the Tepeyac Hill, in Mexico City, in December 1531, when she left her image engraved on the tilma of the Chichimeca Indian Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.


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