December 12, 2008

La Virgen de Guadalupe crosses borders

By Pablo Jaime Sáinz

In these difficult times for all the world, devotion of Mexicans and Latinos for Our Lady of Guadalupe seems stronger than ever.

That’s because on both sides of the border, celebrations in honor of La Virgen Morena, are present.

This past Sunday the traditional Guadalupana parade took place.

“The purpose of the procession is to unite people and to promote love and devotion for Our Lady of Guadalupe,” has said Gilbert Chávez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego. “We know that all of us are going through difficult times and that we all have great challenges as part of life, but with the love of Our Lady of Guadalupe we can overcome any challenge.”

A student from St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral representing La Virgencita del Tepeyac.

The electrifying parade always attracts hundreds of San Diego Catholic believers who line the streets to pay tribute to the official patron saint of Mexico. Guadalupanas from San Diego Catholic churches organized groups from their respected parishes to participate in the parade extravaganza, which marks one of the most spectacular Mexican holidays of the year. The jubilant spirits of school bands, mariachis, and queens riding in allegoric cars can be seen through the streets of San Diego community.

The celebration in Tijuana is even bigger.

A few days before December 12, Tijuana’s “old” Cathedral, in the heart of Downtown, begins the celebration that will commemorate one of the most important events for Mexican Catholicism: The apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to San Juan Diego on December 12, 1531.

The Cathedral’s altar is beautifully decorated with images of La Guadalupana and of San Juan Diego. An artificial waterfall recreates Mount Tepeyac, the place where the event took place more than half a century ago. Red roses are present throughout the Cathedral. People sing to la Virgen de Guadalupe:

“Desde el cielo una hermosa mañana,
desde el cielo una hermosa mañana,
la Guadalupana, la Guadalupana, la Guadalupana
bajó al Tepeyac.”

The dream of thousands of Tijuana devotees of la Virgen de Guadalupe will soon become a reality.

The construction of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in progress in Zona Río and Catholics in this city feel they deserve the state-of-the-art church that pays tribute to La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Back in San Diego, on Sunday, December 14th at 5 p.m., the serenade to Our Lady of Guadalupe will take place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral showing that devotion for la Virgencita del Tepeyac is not limited to the Catholic Church, since it crosses denominations.

This is the fifth year that the Guadalupe Art Program at the Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, located at 2728 Sixth Avenue, in Downtown San Diego, presents this great celebration, said Rev. Mary Moreno Rich-ardson, in charge of Hispanic Ministries at the cathedral.

There will be special guests, such as Grease actress Jamie Donnelly. El Mariachi Real de San Diego will play the Mañanitas for La Virgen. This will be a bilingual service in honor of “the virgin that fights for the voiceless,” said Rev. Moreno Richardson. “She crossed the border with us and we celebrate her here, too.”

To learn more about this event, call Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral at (619) 298-7261.

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