Our Lady of Guadalupe was seen everywhere in SF on last Saturday, December 8th. See photos below.
Nicholas Wolfram Smith
Thousands of people carried statues and banners depicting her, or wore her image on T-shirts as pilgrims filled St. Mary’s Cathedral and the plaza outside.
Bouquets of flowers were stacked in front of her shrine in the cathedral as people brought gifts and prayers to the Queen of Mexico and the Patroness of the Americas.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was the final stop of the 25th Annual Guadalupana Crusade on Dec. 8.
Starting from All Souls Church in South San Francisco at 6 a.m., nearly 35,000 people were expected to take part in the 12-mile pilgrimage. The day finished with Mass at the cathedral celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, along with retired Bishop William J. Justice and Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian, OP.
In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone talked about Mary as an evangelizer and unifier. Her appearance at Tepeyac was the reason for the unity of all Mexican people in faith. In the appearance of the Virgin Mary, both the Mexican and Spanish peoples were able to recognize the mother of God.
“A new Christian people is formed from the two, a mestizo people; a new Christian civilization is born from the union brought about by her who is venerated as ‘la Morenita’ and ‘la Inmaculada.’ How blessed is Mexico, for truly God has not done this for any other nation!” the archbishop said.
Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe breaks down all boundaries, the archbishop continued.
“In this family of faith, what counts is not one’s language, race, nationality or legal status. All these are welcome for those who ask her son for that same purity of heart.”
Ignacio Mendoza, part of a group of Aztec dancers who earlier danced in front of the cathedral’s Guadalupe shrine, told Catholic San Francisco he had been coming to the pilgrimage for 24 years.
Pilgrims carry a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 8 during the 25th annual Guadalupana pilgrimage from All Souls Church to St. Mary’s Cathedral. On the banner are famous words spoken to St. Juan Diego by Mary: “Am I not here? I who am your mother?” (Photo by Dennis Callahan/Catholic San Francisco)
“They say Mexico is the most Catholic nation on earth,” Mendoza said. “It’s not true: It’s the most Guadalupano nation on earth.”
Nearly every home has a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he said, and Mexico City brings in people from all over the country as the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe approaches.
Jose Carrillo, one of the organizers of the Guadalupana Cruzada, said he appreciated how diverse the group was that came to honor Mary.
“It shows that no matter where you are from, we are all one together, following Christ in the only church that he founded,” Carrillo said.
He said devotion to Mary comes from her “being the first one to teach us,” and that her humility and love “moves us to continue loving her.”
A new musical setting for the Mass, composed by Frank La Rocca at the request of Archbishop Cordileone, premiered at the Dec. 8 Mass. La Rocca, composer-in-residence at the Benedict XVI Institute, said hearing the setting for the first time “was a deeply satisfying conclusion to six months of intense work and planning.”
“The commission I was given by Archbishop Cordileone – to take beloved Mexican devotional songs and to weave them into a ‘high church’ classical Mass – was challenging and unlike anything I had been asked to do before,” he said.
The new setting, named the Mass of the Americas, was written in Spanish, Latin, English, and Nahuatl, the language Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke to St. Juan Diego when she appeared to him.
Many appreciated the beauty of the music. Jose Carrillo said the Mass setting “was a good case of taking our culture and bringing in more solemnity. It was music to make you feel more of the love of Jesus Christ.”