Procession, festivities and Mass celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

November 28, 2016

For Immediate Release 

WHAT: Procession, festivities and Mass celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 
WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2016 - Procession 10 a.m., Mass 5 p.m. (program of dancing and singing in between)
WHERE: Procession starts at 1700 San Jacinto, Houston and concludes at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston 
CONTACT: Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Manager, e-mail, 713-652-8213 (office), 713-515-6054 (mobile) 

The sights and sounds of ancient Mexican tradition will soon fill downtown Houston

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, December 11, 2016, thousands of people from across the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are expected to join together in an expression of devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas.

On that day, the streets of downtown Houston will be filled with the colorful display of costumes, music and dancing of centuries-old Mexican tradition for the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston’s annual city-wide celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The event begins at 10 a.m. when more than 1,500 Danzantes and Matachines (indigenous folk dancers), all wearing elaborate headpieces and traditional Aztec- style dress, process from 1700 San Jacinto St. to the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

Along the procession route, the Danzantes and Matachines perform dances which have been handed down from generation to generation. These performances are traditional displays of affection and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Participants also show their devotion by taking turns carrying an image of Our Lady that came from Mexico City and made contact with the original tilma of St. Juan Diego. In addition, the 40 flags from countries of whom Our Lady is queen and empress are represented during the procession.

Upon arrival at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the festivities will continue with traditional songs and dancing, reflection and prayer in celebration of the appearance of the Virgin Mary, or Our Lady of Guadalupe, to Juan Diego in the early 16th century near Mexico City. The event culminates with a Mass at 5 p.m. celebrated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. 

“This annual celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe is important to us, the Catholic Hispanic community, because we venerate her as the mother of Jesus, because she is the mother of the Americas and because she reminds us of our roots,” said Norma Morua, a member of the Archdiocesan Guadalupana Association from St. Juan Diego Catholic Church in Pasadena. 

“This year’s celebration is extra special because it takes place the day before the actual feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Pablo Guzman, president of the Guadalupana Association of the Archdiocese. “It is a time for all to gather and celebrate with each other and with our bishops, and then the next day, we continue honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in our own our parishes”.

“The event is also an opportunity for people of different cultures, people from North, Central and South America, to unite and express our faith and to show our devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Guzman added. “Our cultures often come with distinct characteristics, all with different ways of honoring Our Lady…but through this event we share our devotion to her and her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Sergio Castillo, Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, said “Our Lady of Guadalupe meets people where they are. She identified with St. Juan Diego. She spoke like him and even looked like him…she became ‘one of us’ when she appeared on the Tepeyac.”

“When we look at the image of Our Lady, we are home because we are in the presence of our heavenly Mother. It doesn’t matter where we are—Houston, Latin-America, or anywhere in the world. When you find yourself wrapped in your mother’s gaze, you are home,” Castillo added. 

“We walk through Downtown Houston because we want to share with the whole city the love we have for our beloved Mother. We want to invite everyone to come, not just Hispanics — we want to share this with everyone,” Castillo said.

The annual event commemorates the official Church feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. 

Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego
In 1531, on a hill near a rural village just outside of Mexico City, the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared to a humble peasant named Juan Diego, now St. Juan Diego. 

Surrounded by light and speaking in his indigenous tongue of Nahuatl, Our Lady told Juan Diego she wanted a church built to manifest her Son’s love and hear the petitions of the faithful. To help him in his mission, she gave him a sign, imprinting her beautiful image on his cloak. From it would flow miracles. The news spread quickly throughout Mexico, and in the following years, millions would convert to Catholicism. 

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.7 million Catholics in 10 counties. 
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 5th largest in the United States.