Archdiocese honors Our Lady of Guadalupe with procession, dancing

November 22, 2016

More than 1,500 danzantes and matachines dancers will take to downtown Houston’s streets to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 11.

HOUSTON — On Sunday, Dec. 11, thousands of people from across the Archdiocese 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’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. Individuals also show their devotion by taking turns carrying the 40 flags from the countries of whom Our Lady is queen and empress.

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 St. 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 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, “Personally, I have always been moved by the downtown procession because it is a very visible and concrete sign of Our Lady’s presence among us, her children. I see the downtown procession as the first testimony of unity and the seed of an even deeper unity within our community.”

“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.