20,000 March From All Souls Church For The Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Thousands of marchers in archdiocese venerate Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 11th, 2013
By Enrique Quijano

The celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe acquired a special meaning this year thanks to Pope Francis.
In a gesture of cordiality and respect to the Patroness of the Americas and the people of Mexico, last month Pope Francis sent to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City a bough of golden roses that was placed at the feet of the virgin.
The pope sent this special gift, which consists of four roses between two golden leaves, to open the “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization” conference, led by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Guadalupe basilica.
“Lady of Guadalupe, receives from Pope Francis this rose which symbolizes gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and it is the sign of our love and enthusiasm for you and our evangelization mission in the world,” said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Cardinal Ouellet added that our hearts, more than our heads, know the debt of love we owe to the virgin and that is why we beg her to receive this special gift as a gesture of grateful love.
During the opening of the event, Pope Francis sent a recorded video message to the gathering of 85 bishops, 300 representatives from different countries and 600 priests from throughout the Americas.
In the Archdiocese of San Francisco, about 20,000 people marched from All Souls Church in South San Francisco to St. Mary’s Cathedral Dec. 7 in the annual Cruzada Guadalupana commemorating the Marian apparition known as the Virgin of Tepeyac. Tepeyac is a hill outside Mexico City where the virgin appeared four times in December 1531 to St. Juan Diego and left a miraculous impression on his cloak.
The image of “la virgen Morena” was reflected in shirts, zarapes, candles and pictures, while the people sang and prayed with devotion.
Such was the case of Hortensia Casillas, 48, originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, who has come to this march for five years in a row to give thanks to the virgin for all the blessings received. This year the celebration had a very special meaning to her.
“This year I come to give thanks to the virgin because she granted me a very special miracle,” she said. “I thought I would not see my 79-year-old mother because she was very sick in Mexico. I asked our mother to heal her and give me the opportunity to see her after so many years and now she’s here with me in San Francisco very healthy and we are making up for all the lost time.”
The pilgrimage started at 6 a.m., stopping at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma and St. John the Evangelist Church in San Francisco before ending at the cathedral, where Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone celebrated the closing Mass.
“With the apparition of Virgin de Guadalupe a new nation and a new Christian culture of evangelization emerged and she has been the star of that evangelization,” the archbishop said during his homily.
He added that the face of the virgin has been an example of evangelization in the world, especially in America, where she is venerated with the title Queen of the Americas.
During the celebration a dramatization of the apparition of the virgin took place with the participation of young Catholics who played the parts from the story of the miracle.
“To me is very important to represent the virgin of Guadalupe because she has helped me a lot in my life; this is my way of saying thanks to her for all her blessings,” said Isabel Rodríguez, 17, who played the virgin. She recently healed from a boil on her head, she said.
A group of priests from different churches, including a delegation from the Philippines, took part in the Mass.
“The virgin of Guadalupe provided the symbol that allowed Mexico to discover its identity and has been the cultural link among all races around the world,” said Father Móises Agudo, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in San Francisco.


From December 13, 2013 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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