HOUSTON – Hundreds of religious faithful paid tribute on Sunday in Texas to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, in a procession and parade on a day that culminated with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
According to Joe Castro, the interim director of the Office of Hispanic Ministries in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, which contains more than 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties, this was a good opportunity to be glad and give thanks to Mexico’s beloved patron saint.
“We should all show our respect and admiration for the countless blessings we have received this year, and especially because she protected us during the havoc left by Hurricane Harvey a few weeks ago, a fact that still resonates in the community,” Castro told EFE.
He said that the event, which is celebrated in many US cities with large Hispanic populations, has been observed in Houston for more than 40 years and is participated in by dozens of parishes and Catholic groups affiliated with the archdiocese.
Mexican Julia Cardenas, the coordinator of a parish in East Houston, said that honoring the Virgin highlights her traditions and maintains the religious legacy of her country over many generations.
“The dances and the chants that we believers do in this ritual are a tribute to the Virgin and to God,” said Cardenas, 47, who has been participating in the event since she was 16.
The origination of the ceremony among Catholics dates back 486 years to when – so the story goes – the Virgin miraculously appeared to Indian Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City, and since then homage has been paid to Mary around Latin America and in many US cities.
In Los Angeles, the events to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, which are expected to draw more than 30,000 people, began with a procession in the eastern part of the city and ended at the Weingart Stadium, where a Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Jose Gomez
Just as in Houston, a procession was held in the California city that stretched for three miles with floats with themes drawn from the story of the “Virgen Morena,” as the Virgin of Guadalupe is known, along with Aztec dances and mariachi bands.