Sights, sounds of ancient Mexican tradition fill downtown Houston

December 22, 2015

HOUSTON — Drums, costumes, music and dancing of centuries-old Mexican tradition filled the streets of downtown Houston Sunday, Dec. 13, for the Archdiocese’s annual city-wide celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

More than 5,000 people from across the Archdiocese united and expressed their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas. The event began at noon with a procession where hundreds of Danzantes and Matachines (indigenous folk dance troupes), all wearing elaborate headpieces and traditional Aztec-style dress, danced and walked 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 showed their devotion by taking turns carrying the 40 flags from the countries of whom Our Lady is queen and empress.

“The words of Our Lady of Guadalupe harmonize well with the celebration of the Holy Year of Mercy,” said Father Miguel Solorzano, spiritual director of the Guadalupana Association of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. 

“The Blessed Mother introduced herself to Juan Diego as the Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives. She is the merciful Mother of all. She will hear the weeping of all her children. She will alleviate all their sufferings,” Father Solorzano said. “In the same manner, Pope Francis wishes that the Jubilee of Mercy be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, ‘for his mercy endures forever.’ (Psalm 136:1) It is the context in which Jesus says, ‘Be merciful as your Father is merciful.’ (Luke 6:27-35) It is a powerful message which calls us to love.”

At the George R. Brown Convention Center, the festivities continued 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 culminated with a Mass celebrated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. 

“This event is an opportunity to celebrate together as an Archdiocesan community, and to publicly express our faith, love and devotion to the Mother of Our Lord,” said Sergio Castillo, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry. “It is also a display of our community’s rich cultural diversity coming together, united very intimately with our faith.”

Pablo Guzman, president of the Guadalupana Association of the Archdiocese, said that for this celebration, cultures from North, Central and South America unite to express our faith and to show our devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. “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.”

The procession and festivities were sponsored by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Guadalupana Association in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.

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