Our Lady of Guadalupe procession returns on Sunday

The traditional Our Lady of Guadalupe procession will return on Sunday after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Colorful floats, folk dancers and mariachi bands will once again take to the streets for this celebration, but this time at a different location.

The procession starts at 11 a.m. at Bird Park (28e and Redwood Streets, on the northeast side of Balboa Park) and ends at St. Augustine High School (3266 Nutmeg Street) in the North Park area.

Bishop Robert McElroy will celebrate a bilingual Mass in the school gymnasium at 1 p.m., followed by a tribute to the late Bishop Gilberto Chávez, who passed away in March 2020.

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every year on December 12. According to Catholic tradition, in 1531, the Virgin appeared to the native Juan Diego – canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002 – on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City. .

Named the “patron saint of the Americas”, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is one of Mexico’s most revered religious figures. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Mexico City to celebrate this day.

This Catholic celebration is considered an important day for Mexican Americans and the Hispanic community to honor their cultural and religious identity.

An estimated 63 percent of Catholics served by the Diocese of San Diego and Imperial Counties are of Latino descent, according to the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Our Lady of Guadalupe procession and mass have been celebrated for over 50 years in San Diego, but last year only Mass was held due to COVID. The faithful were able to follow Mass via social networks.

Organizers said this year that they wanted to offer their gratitude for these difficult times.

“It’s about giving thanks to Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Luis Barajas, president of the Hispanic Commission for the diocese. “We want to express our gratitude for several things; the vaccine, our families, and because we have taken another step forward in this pandemic. “

Barajas said this year’s holiday will be a diverse celebration with different cultures and languages. It will also be a keepsake of Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, Gilberto Chávez, who was the second Mexican-American bishop in the nation. He passed away on March 15, 2020, at the age of 87.

“Due to the pandemic, we were not able to bid him the farewell he would have wished, with party and mariachi,», We read in an invitation on the website of the diocese.

Chávez was an advocate for Spanish Masses in San Diego.

When he arrived in the diocese in 1974, no more than five parishes offered masses in Spanish, but at the time of his retirement, more than 50 parishes had this service, noted Lupita Alvarado, president of the San Diego Confederación Guadalupana, partner. of the diocese. for this event.

“He was a very humble and caring person, whenever he was needed he was always ready to help,” Alvarado added.

The procession, mass and tributes should be 2,000, according to the organizers. It is recommended to arrive early to find parking or to carpool.

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