When the Virgin Mary appeared and spoke to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531, it altered the course of the Catholic faith on this continent.
“That dialogue changed the whole culture,” said Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, a native of Monterrey, Mexico. For Hispanic people, the dialogue between Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego made possible an “endearing intimacy with God through the Blessed Virgin.”
In the Archdiocese of Seattle, an annual celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, will mark its 25th anniversary December 7.
After morning devotions at St. Mary Church in Seattle, groups of folk dancers in traditional dress will accompany
actors representing Our Lady and St. Juan Diego in a procession to St. James Cathedral, where Archbishop Paul D. Etienne will celebrate Mass.
The celebration “has a life and a vibrancy all of its own,” said Patty Repikoff, former coordinator of Hispanic ministry for the Eastside Deanery. “And it’s just the passion that the community has to be able to celebrate the Virgin and what she means to them and how she accompanies them through every road.”
“It’s an amazing experience,” Repikoff added. “It’s color, it’s light, it’s sound, it’s incense, it’s bells … it’s babies screaming, it’s chanting. … It’s just a sea of humanity.” (The photos on the
following pages are from last year’s event.)
“The main purpose of our celebration is to bring the communities together,” said José Ortiz, a member of St. Charles Parish in Burlington who has been involved with the event since its inception in 1994. “We believe that the Mother of the Americas belongs to everybody, not just to Hispanics, but to everybody in America.”
The celebration unites people from different cultures, said Deacon Ted Rodriguez of St. Anthony Parish in Renton, “because Our Lady of Guadalupe brings us to Christ, brings us to her son.”
“When it comes to evangelization, I believe the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego are by far the most impactful event America has witnessed,” said Edwin Ferrera, the archdiocese’s director for Hispanic ministry. “I truly hope my non-Hispanic sisters and brothers will choose to come, so that we can celebrate together!”
Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration, December 7
7:30 a.m. Mañanitas and apparitions at St. Mary Church, Seattle
8 a.m. Holy hour at St. Mary’s
9 a.m. Rosary at St. Mary’s
9:30 a.m. Mañanitas at St. Mary’s
10:15 a.m. Procession from St. Mary’s to St. James Cathedral
12:10 p.m. Mass at St. James Cathedral
1:30 p.m. Reception in Cathedral Hall
Northwest Catholic - December 2019