Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will look very different this year for the parishioners at Holy Cross Parish in Los Angeles where the Comboni Missionaries have served for 50 years.

Mrs. Graciela Marrero has been the church’s sacristan for nearly 8 years. In all those years she has seen how different groups adorn the image of our Lady of Guadalupe inside the church. This year, because of increasing restrictions to contain the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus in the city of Los Angeles, we are in uncharted waters regarding liturgy in pandemic times. Yet Mrs. Graciela says that the creativity of our parishioners has never been so amazing. In fact, the humble decoration under the shade where we celebrate the Eucharist, makes the maternal face of our Lupita shine with greater hope and empathy for the most troubled parishioners during this pandemic. 

She was praying quietly when I took these pictures. In them you can see one of the many expressions of devotion and trust in the promises of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, the Mexican indigenous man to whom our Lady appeared with a message of faith and reconciliation. Those were troubling times for the Aztec nation and many died of contagious diseases imported by the conquerors. In view of this memory, I hope that this Saturday people of good faith experience a renewed sense of resilience in their families who struggle at the end of this year when not all can hold a job or be in Good health. 

There won’t be any mariachi band playing hymns but I am sure that people will find ways to show their love and faithful prayers to the mother of the true God for whom we live, Our lady of Guadalupe. Holy Cross volunteers are ready to organize a safe celebration for any faithful who will come to the feed of the image of Guadalupe to put in a candle or a bouquet of flowers their needs for themselves and the world.

¡Viva la virgencita de Guadalupe!

P José Alberto Pimentel, MCCJ