One celebration shared by residents and staff alike is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated annually on December 12th.
Historically, many of our staff have celebrated the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe their entire lives; many of our residents also have annually celebrated this feast. Our Lady of Guadalupe has been celebrated by Catholics throughout California for hundreds of years and throughout Mexico for even longer.
For those who are unfamiliar with Our Lady of Guadalupe, here is the fascinating story of her apparition.
Though Franciscan Missionary had been laboring in Mexico for twenty years, they had made little progress. Mary appeared to Juan Diego on a Hill of Tepeyac on December 9, 1531. Our Lady requested a church be built on that site, which Juan Diego dutifully relayed to the bishop.
After a request by the bishop to prove her identity, Our Lady asked Juan Diego to gather roses that were growing on a hill and take them to the bishop. Roses were neither native to the area nor in season. Juan Diego found the roses, picked them and placed the roses in his tilma (or cloak) to carry to the bishop as evidence of Our Lady’s appearance.
Upon opening the tilma to reveal the miraculous roses to the bishop, there was something even more miraculous present in the tilma – a striking image of Mary, as seen by Juan Diego.
Within ten years of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe practically the entire Mexican people, nine million strong, had converted to Christianity. Mary in the beautiful image had proved a more effective evangelist that Saints Peter, Paul, Patrick and Francis Xavier combined!
With the great conversion, the Azetc practice of human sacrifice came to an end. Mary had done battle with fallen spirits and had won a cultural-changing victory for the God of love.
This huge conversion began in 1531, a time when the Protestant reformation was going on in Europe and million were leaving the faith.
The Tilma Today
St. Juan Diego’s original tilma hangs today in the Basilica of Our Land of Guadalupe in Mexico City. This tilma (which should have deteriorated between ten to fifteen years) has lasted, without preservation, for an unfathomable 470 years!
Eighteen to twenty million people visit the Basilica annually to view the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our residents have a full-size copy of the image hanging in our home.
Feast Day Celebrations
Father Thomas Welbers, Staff, and Residents celebrated a Mass in Spanish and English. Mariachi musicians sang the entire liturgy in Spanish. See video of the Mass below, if interested.
After mass the traditional serenade to Our Lady of Guadalupe by Mariachi Victoria de Jesus took place in the Chapel and garden before the image of our Lady. See video of the serenade to our Lady below.
Not Familiar with Mariachi Music
Mariachi music is unique. The size of a mariachi ensemble can vary quite a bit depending on the availability of musician. The ideal instrumentation includes one or more of the folllowing: violins, trumpets, and rhythm instruments, the guitar, the vihuela, and the guitarron. There is not a lead singer in Mariachi. Everyone in the assembly does some vocalization even if it is just
Every Celebration Need a Party!
What’s a celebration without a party? A party followed the Mass hosted by Nazareth House in the auditorium. Residents, staff and their family members had a great time. The party featured delicious Mexican food, music, and dancing!
Some staff and their young children wore traditional costumes. Mariachi dance music played while some enthusiastic staff members and performed traditional Mexican dances for the residents.
Videos of the Mass and Serenade provided by Fr. Thomas Welbers