Respect and love for Our Lady of Guadalupe draws thousands of people to celebrate her feast day every year.
Known as the Patroness of the Americas, she is an integral part of Latin American culture and is honored every Dec. 12, when men, women and children, many wearing traditional dress, celebrate Mary’s miraculous appearance to St. Juan Diego in 1531.
On that day, Mary appeared to the humble weaver on a hill outside Mexico City. He relayed the incredible event and was asked for proof of the visitation, so St. Juan Diego picked roses — symbolic of Mary — from the frozen hillside and wrapped them in his cloak. When he opened his cloak to show the bishop, Castilian roses — which did not grow in Mexico — tumbled out, and all eyes were drawn to a glowing image of the Lady that was imprinted inside Juan’s cloak.
To honor this miracle, participants of all ages flock to diocesan parishes, where they walk in candlelight processions into Mass, carrying images of Mary. At the Misa de las Rosas, Mass of the Roses, drummers, dancers and other musicians help celebrate the feast day with song and prayer.
Many churches host two- and three-day events to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. Participants pray the rosary, sing mananitas and often hold a symbolic torch-run relay.
St. John of the Cross, Batesburg-Leesville
Photos by Jeff Blake