HARTFORD – Park Street was filled with color on Dec. 11 as people of all ages gathered at St. Anne-Immaculate Conception Church for a mile-long procession to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe with costumes, songs, prayer and dance. Click on Photo Gallery at right to see more photos.
The festive event was just one of the activities organized in Hartford over three days around the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Latinos paid similar homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe at other churches in the Archdiocese of Hartford, as well.
For the procession in Hartford, which ended at St. Peter Church, children dressed in costumes reflecting their rich heritage or representing events associated with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Young boys wore mustaches, sombreros, ponchos and other attire symbolic of what Juan Diego may have worn on Dec. 12, 1531. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to an Aztec Indian Juan Diego near Mexico City on that day. She spoke to him in his own Aztec language, asking him to build a church in her honor. Before leaving, she left her impression on his cloak as proof that she had spoken to him.
A mariachi band played during the procession, for which many people carried statues or images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dancers from the Azteca Danza group of Wallingford performed before a Mass at St. Peter Church that was celebrated after the procession by Father Dairo Diaz, pastor.
Men representing the Committee Guadalupano also participated in the procession, carrying a blessed flame that had traveled more than 3,100 miles. The blessed flame began its spiritual journey in early October at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico, where runners began carrying it through various Mexican cities before entering the United States to visit more than a dozen states.
Latinos paid similar homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 11 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hamden, which also had a procession before Mass.
The torch also visited St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, arriving at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 via a bus from New York, according to The New Haven Register.
The torch arrived in Hartford at 7 that evening, where a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph was celebrated in observance of the Virgin Mary.
Last year was the first time that the torch was carried to Hartford, and members of the Committee Guadalupano hope it’s a tradition that will last forever. According to Pedro Ruiz, president of the Committee Guadalupano, the faithful, especially in the Hispanic communities, relate to the Virgin Mary in a very special way.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell celebrated the Mass, which was attended by members of various churches and ethnic backgrounds across the archdiocese. A mariachi band performed and traditional cantos, or songs, were sung.
On Dec. 12, people gathered at 5 a.m. at St. Peter for the singing of las mañanitas, a traditional morning serenade dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Mass, also featuring a mariachi band, was celebrated that evening, as well.