The sights, sounds of ancient Mexican tradition to fill downtown Houston

November 27, 2012

Drums, costumes, music and dancing of centuries old Mexican tradition will fill the streets of downtown Houston on Dec. 2 — all in an expression of devotion and thanksgiving to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas.

Now in its 37th year, this is the annual city-wide celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The day unites people from across the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston as thousands come together to rejoice. The event begins at noon with a procession from 1700 San Jacinto, home to the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, to the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. 
Following the procession, all are welcome to enjoy the festivities at the convention center. The entire day will be filled with scores of matachines, or indigenous folk dance troupes, mariachis and other singers. 

The matachines wear elaborate headpieces and traditional Aztec-style dress, the purpose of their dancing is spiritual — praise for Mary and to the Lord. 

Attendees and participants will also have the opportunity to view a re-enactment of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego by children from St. Gregory Catholic School. The day culminates with a 5 p.m. Mass at the convention center, celebrated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. This is one of the largest celebrations of its kind within the U.S. Hispanic Catholic community. 

“This celebration in the Hispanic Catholic community... means being able to maintain a cultural heritage that derives from almost five centuries ago,” said Gilberto Heredia, president of the Guadalupana Association. 

“The celebration of the Mass, the groups of folkloric dancers and the ability to celebrate jointly with the rest of the faithful believers are the bases for the faithful Hispanic Catholics in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to celebrate the event. The general community is invited to this annual Catholic event.” †

Did you know?

Founded in 1973, the Guadalupana Association started when a group of faithful Hispanic members of the Catholic community gathered in recognition of the broad impact that the Virgin Mother of God in the invocation of Guadalupe. To express their love to Mary, known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, this group formed a Marian movement known as Our Lady of Guadalupe Association, or the Guadalupana Association.
The founders started a procession, originally between two parishes in the East End of Houston. It has grown each year, and since 1991, has been held downtown with festivities and Mass held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The actual Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Dec. 12, however, the Guadalupana Association event is held a week or two prior to the feast day, so that each parish can celebrate the day within their own community. †

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, Mary 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. Millions were baptized and converted to Jesus Christ. †