By Daniel Jimenez for South Kern Sol
South Kern Sol attended the Annual Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage and Vigil at St. Mary’s Parish in Taft. For many families in South Kern this day brings hope.
“For me it is more than a tradition, December 12th represents pride, hope and faith,” says Juan Pablo Alvarez, a Taft resident who attended the event.
The day of La Virgen de Guadalupe (December 12th is the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) became a national holiday in Mexico in the year of 1859. It is said that on December 9, 1531, Juan Diego received a miraculous apparition of La Virgen where she told him to tell church leaders to build a temple for her on the hilltop. When Juan Diego told church leaders what happened they did not believe him. La Virgen appeared for the 4th and last time to Juan Diego on December 12th and asked him to collect flowers for her at the hilltop and take them to the church leaders as a sign. Flowers did not grow in December, but Juan Diego found some beautiful flowers at the top of the hill. When Juan Diego arrived with the church leaders, he unfolded his coat full of flowers and La Virgen de Guadalupe almost perfectly printed on his cloak. The church leaders finally believed Juan Diego and a small church was built at the hilltop in Mexico City, where The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe stands now.
Since then, people come together to commemorate and pay tribute to la morenita (An indigenious manifestation of Christ’s mother). Every year many Catholic churches have midnight Masses where parishioners come together to sing Las Mañanitas (a Latin American birthday song) to La Virgen de Guadalupe.
For Ruben Arreola, a Bakersfield resident, December 12th is a reminder of a very special person who has been an intermediary between humans and the spirit of God.
“To us, she has been an intermediary who has helped, given us hope, and a sense of calmness because we know that we can ask her for something, knowing that she is closer than us to our lord,” says Arreola. “It is a time for family and peace.”
South Kern Sol asked a few residents what they are praying for, and here are their responses!
“This year, I am asking the Virgen de Guadalupe for world peace, and for an amnesty so that people can be here legally.”
Jose Luis Uribe
“I would like to ask La Virgen de Guadalupe to protect my children, my mother, to help our friends who are struggling. To unite everyone else living in this country. I would like to ask her to help pass immigration reform.”
“I know that there is a lot of need in this world, it would be very selfish for me to ask her for something I don’t need. I am in good health. I have a family, so regularly I do not ask for anything, my saints are very busy.”
Juan Pablo Alvarez
“I would simply ask our lady of Guadalupe to pray for my family, for health for next year, and for more many years to come for me and for my family.”
“My petition for our lady is to end worldwide violence and establish peace in the world.”
“My mother is going to have surgery, and I would like our lady to help my mother so everything goes well.”