Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations set at cathedral and around the diocese

St. Juan Diego, portrayed by Luis Mondragon, kneels as he is greeted by the Blessed Virgin Mary, portrayed by Kimberly Alfaro, during a presentation of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2016 at St. Mary Church in Bloomington. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria will be filled with prayer, song and dance throughout much of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 12, in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The celebration is one of several planned around the Diocese of Peoria — especially in parishes with Spanish-speaking communities — on or around the feast day to commemorate Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego near present-day Mexico City in 1531.

Under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary is patroness of the Americas, unborn children, and the New Evangelization.

The celebration at St. Mary’s Cathedral begins with Mexican songs (“las mañanitas”) for the Blessed Mother at 4:30 a.m. Father Alex Millar, cathedral rector, will be principal celebrant of a Mass at 5:30 a.m., assisted by Father Jacinto Perez, a priest who is visiting from Monterey, Mexico.  The morning continues with dances, praise and worship, recitation of the rosary at 8 a.m., and closes with morning prayer at 9 a.m.

The cathedral will be reopened at 4 p.m. for more music and dance, including a pageant of the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 5:30 p.m. and evening prayer. A closing Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at the nearby Franz Center.

According to the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, special observances of Our Lady of Guadalupe are also planned in Kewanee, Mendota, and Ottawa (St. Francis of Assisi) on Dec. 9; in DePue the evening of Dec. 11 continuing into Dec. 12; and in Bloomington (St. Mary), Champaign (St. Mary), LaSalle (St.  Hyacinth), and Moline (St. Mary) on Dec. 12. The Moline observance will begin with eucharistic adoration on Dec. 10.


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