PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — She is named the patroness of the Americas. For many Hispanic Catholics, they’ll be celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe this weekend.
Parishioners of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Okeechobee have been preparing for Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration.
Griselda Gonzalez is one of the organizers.
“We recognize her as the mother of our saviour. We revere her, we respect her and we follow her example,” said Gonzalez.
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every year on Dec. 12.
According to Catholic tradition, the virgin appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531.
Then canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Named as the “Patroness of the Americas,” Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is one of the most revered religious figures in Mexico.
Zacarias Baltazar is one of the hundreds who will pay homage to the Virgin Mary.
“Personally, she means the maximum to me. She is the mother of our Catholic church,” said Baltazar.
A certified replica of the original icon in Mexico City now sits in the lobby of the Dioceses of Palm Beach.
Reverend Duván Bermúdez is the director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry.
“For our Spanish community here, in the United States and also here in Palm Beach County, they have more connection for her,” said Bermúdez, “because we recognize that our Spanish like to celebrate this special feast.”
Pilgrimages to shrines around the country will resume after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
And here in Okeechobee, one will take place Sunday.
“It brings closeness with our land, it teaches our kids our traditions of where we come from and our roots,” said Gonzalez.
“Express our religion in different languages also in the United States,” added Bermúdez. “The most important thing is to recognize we are one family.”
Other parishes holding celebrations are:
St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Stuart
Holy Cross in Indiantown
St. Peter Catholic Church in Jupiter
Centro Pastoral Hispano San Juan Diego in Fort Pierce
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Fellsmere.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake Worth