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LA continues city’s oldest religious procession (Stunning photos!)

J-P Mauro - published on 12/13/21

The 90-year traditional procession and Mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe was back in full swing after pandemic year.

The oldest religious procession in Los Angeles went off without a hitch on December 5, 2021. The festivities honored Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego with a procession and Mass, continuing a 90-year tradition.

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There was much to celebrate about this year’s procession, not least that it took place in its usual form. In 2020, the Archdiocese was forced to alter the annual procession to be in-car-only, due to the pandemic. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, who was on hand to celebrate Mass at the ELAC Stadium, remembered those who have died of COVID-19. 

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“It’s a joy to be reunited this year to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. Today, especially, we elevate our prayers for the end of the pandemic,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We dedicate special prayers for the eternal rest of those who have died and also for those who are sick and for those who assist them.

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This year’s procession and Mass also commemorated two milestones: the first being the 490th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Devotions to the miraculous apparitions that appeared in 1531 to St. Juan Diego are especially strong in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This annual procession and Mass is a tradition that was begun by Catholic Mexican immigrants who fled the persecution of Christians in Mexico during the Cristero Wars in 1931.  

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The second milestone the day recognized was 250 years of Catholic faith in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. To commemorate this occasion, the Archdiocese launched a Jubilee Year, with the theme “Forward in Mission.” In his bilingual homily, Archbishop Gomez called on the faithful to keep following Christ: 

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“We need to increase more and more in our love for Jesus, in our understanding of what God wants in our lives, in our desire to do his will,” the Archbishop said.

In preparation for the celebration, the Archdiocese’s images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, known as La Peregrina, and Saint Juan Diego toured through local parishes. These pilgrim images visited dozens of locations and offered hundreds of faithful the opportunity to venerate them. 

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The pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is an exact digital reproduction of the original image that was imprinted upon St. Juan Diego’s “tilma,” or cloak, housed in Mexico City. For nearly five centuries, the image has stood as a symbol of unity, peace, compassion, and hope for people around the world. According to a press release from the Archdiocese, the reproduced image was blessed and touched by the original. 

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The procession, which stretched from Our Lady of Solitude Parish to East L.A. College Stadium, included a float contest. The top three floats were awarded grants that will be put towards improving each parish’s technology. The Mass was preceded by a musical tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe and the handing of the Guadalupano torch. 

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The torch was carried in relay by five local highschoolers from East L.A.-based Bishop Mora Salesian High School. The five students of various grades had carried the torch on a six-mile run to the stadium from Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.

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The Archdiocese has put a video of the musical tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mass on YouTube. The entire event can be viewed in the video, featured above. 

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Our Lady of GuadalupeUnited States
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