All invited to festive celebration honoring ‘patroness of the Americas’

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Dianne Towalski
The Visitor

Organizers of this year’s diocesan Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration are hoping to draw more than 500 people to the event.

“It’s not just Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Mexicans,” said Mayuli Bales, director of the Diocese of St. Cloud’s Office of Multicultural Ministries. “That’s something that we really want to underline. Many times the Anglo community or people from other countries ask us, ‘It’s our Lady of Guadalupe, too?’ We say, ‘Yes, of course.’ ”

Viejitos Dance

The Viejitos Dance Purepecha group performs during the reception following last year’s Mass celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville. The Visitor file photo.

In 1999, St. John Paul II proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas.

Six parishes are joining to host the Dec. 14 celebration. It begins with a Mass at 2 p.m. in the Abbey Church at St. John’s University in Collegeville. Benedictine Abbot John Klassen will preside, along with priests representing the parishes hosting the event.

“We want it be a Mass of solidarity with the Latino Catholics in our diocese,” Bales said. “So the invitation is for everybody.”

Processing in for the Mass, representatives from the six hosting parishes will carry a banner featuring the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the name of the
parish. Flags of the different countries represented will decorate the church.

“It’s going to be very, very festive,” Bales said.

The parishes in Pelican Rapids, Long Prairie, Waite Park, Melrose, Morris and Cold Spring are the hosts. Each is responsible for a part of the liturgy or the social gathering that follows.

“We will have representation from each parish, bringing the gifts and proclaiming the readings,” Bales said. “It’s going to be in the hands of the community. That’s a big step.”

The chef from St. John’s Abbey will cook a Mexican meal, Bales said. Speakers and a program of folkloric dancing will follow the meal. There also will be tables with information about immigration and other issues.

Last year’s celebration was planned by the Office of Multicultural Ministries. This year, the event is being coordinated by a subcommittee of the newly formed diocesan Hispanic Ministry Committee.

Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in the hearts of Latino Catholics, Bales said. “She’s with and for the poor; it’s an image that we carry,” she said. “Also, when people cross the border, have children in the hospital or are in some kind of tribulation, it’s her to whom we call.

“The tradition is that she’s our mother, our protector,” she said.

The idea is to build community with events like this, Bales said, “where we can break bread together, sit down at the table together, and then start [getting to know] each other.”