On December 12th, completing a two month journey that began October 10th at the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexican migrants will arrive at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral to celebrate the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The celebration, one of Mexico’s most holy days, has taken the shape of the third bi-national “Run of Unity” that follows a 3,800 mile route through northern Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
With close to 5,000 “runners,” this pilgrimage was also designed as a way to shed light on important social issues and injustices, while at the same time bringing a taste of home to the Mexican- American community in the United States. This year, the run represents the contributions Latinos make to the US economy and culture, as well as the divisions that result when a border separates families.
The torch stopped on Thursday, December 2nd in Durham, North Carolina, when the team of runners was stopped by state troopers. But, as previously announced, the pilgrimage is expected to arrive on time on December 12 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
December 12th commemorates the day in 1531 when the Virgin of Guadalupe, the dark skinned virgin, appeared before Juan Diego, a poor Aztec field worker who had been converted and baptized with the Christian name of Juan Diego. The Virgin asked that a church be built on Tepeyac hill, the same hill where the Basilica de Guadalupe now stands. And legend says that as a sign of her will, her image miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, which according to tradition, is the same one on display today.
Also celebrating “The Solemn Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe” is the Virgin of Guadalupe Church (St. Bernard) on West 14th Street. The celebration began on Sunday December 5th, with live music, folkloric dancing and some of our favorite Mexican food including pozole, tamales, atole, flautas, elotes and many other goodies.
The Church has a complete program of activities scheduled for the week beginning on Saturday, December 11th at 6pm. The program includes masses in both Spanish and English, and beginning at 11 pm on Saturday, a selection of musical entertainment, including a choir of guitars, three different Mariachi groups, a Norteño band, and many others who will dedicate “Las Mañanitas” to our Lady of Guadalupe at the strike of midnight.