Rich history part of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration

November 22, 2011

HOUSTON — Thousands have gathered and followed in procession for the annual Archdiocesan celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe over many decades. The end result is always the same — a faithful community showing their strong devotion to the Patroness of the Americas.

The origins of the annual celebration being a citywide event came to fruition when the Archdiocesan Guadalupana Association formed at the start of the 1970s. From 1972 to 1989 matachines from different parishes, along with the many Guadalupanas and Guadalupanos, walked along Navigation Boulevard to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church for an annual Mass celebration. To accommodate the thousands gathered, the event was moved from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to the Co-Cathedral grounds in 1990 and 1991.

“After many, many years of outdoor celebrations, the late [Bishop] Enrique San Pedro, reminded us of Saint Juan Diego’s mission — indoor place for prayer,” former Guadalupana president Elena Ruiz said.

With safety and weather being a concern and the popularity of the event, the Association received permission from the Archdiocese to move the annual celebration to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where it has been home to the festive day since 1992.

“The event draws more than 3,000 people each year,” Gilberto Heredia, president of the Guadalupana Association said. “That’s been a constant since we moved to the George R. Brown.” 

On Dec. 4 at noon, several thousands will start a procession from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Chancery office, 1700 San Jacinto, and arrive at the convention center. There mariachis, along with a choir, will sing blessings to Our Lady of Guadalupe at 2 p.m., followed by a re-enactment of Saint Juan Diego’s appearance to the Virgin Mary. Several hundred “matachines,” indigenous dance groups from various parishes, will perform to honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by a recitation of the Holy Rosary at 4 p.m. All of these lead up to the main celebration, Mass with Daniel Cardinal DiNardo at 5 p.m. †