S. Philadelphia Mexicans Serenade Virgin After Parade

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PARISHIONERS carried this float of Our Lady of Guadalupe from church to its lead place in parade.

PARISHIONERS carried this float of Our Lady of Guadalupe from church to its lead place in parade.

Over 100 parishioners celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a “Las Mañanitas”, a traditional serenade for the Blessed Virgin, by staunchly facing bitter cold night winds last Thursday evening to march from St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 17th & Morris Streets, to the Cathedrals of SS. Peter & Paul, 18th & the Parkway.

They were led by pastor Msgr. H. Joseph Shields with music provided by a mariachi band, which joined with other bands to provide serenade music at the Cathedral Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput at 9 p.m. Joining were Hispanic Catholics from the parishes of St. Joan of Arc, St. Michael and Annunciation BVM churches.

Official Catholic accounts state that on the morning of Dec. 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw an apparition of a maiden at the Hill of Tepeyac, in what would become the town of Villa de Guadalupe in the suburbs of Mexico City. Speaking to him in the native Náhuatl language, the maiden asked that a church be built at that site in her honor; from her words, Juan Diego recognized the maiden as the Virgin Mary.

MSGR. H. Joseph Shields, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, blesses parishioners with Holy Water prior to their leaving on procession to Cathedrals of Sts. Peter and Paul.

MSGR. H. Joseph Shields, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, blesses parishioners with Holy Water prior to their leaving on procession to Cathedrals of SS. Peter & Paul.

Diego recounted the events to the Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the “lady” for a miraculous sign to prove her identity.

TRADITION of Virgin of Guadalupe is intimately intertwined with Mexican history and cultural identity.

TRADITION of Virgin of Guadalupe is intimately intertwined with Mexican history and cultural identity.

The first sign was the Virgin’s healing of Juan’s uncle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming in December on the normally barren hilltop. The Virgin arranged the flowers in his “tilma” or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before Bishop Zumárraga on Dec. 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

That tilma has become Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural symbol’ leading to its armed rebellion against Spain and to independence.

HISPANIC Catholic Families from St. Thomas Aquinas braved night cold air and snow flurries to trek over 20 blocks to Cathedrals of Sts. Peter and Paul to serenade Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day.

HISPANIC Catholic Families from St. Thomas Aquinas braved night cold air and snow flurries to trek over 20 blocks to Cathedrals of SS. Peter & Paul to serenade Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day.

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