By Daniel Jimenez
For many Catholics, December 12 marks one of the most important religious holidays of the year: El Dia de La Virgen de Guadalupe, or in English, The Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Last year, when South Kern Sol attended the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations in the city of Taft, we were able to learn more about the tradition and ask some of the residents what they were praying for. Then, the resounding theme was immigration reform.
We decided to do something similar this year, only this time we joined a procession of devotees in Bakersfield who, despite the rain and cold temperatures, walked the streets to honor “La Virgen Morena” (the dark virgin), as she is sometimes also called. Again, we asked a few of the faithful to share with us why “La Virgen” is so important to them, and what they are petitioning her for in 2015.
“For me Our Lady of Guadalupe is important, that’s why I bring her flowers… I like to thank her for giving me a job, and good health. I also thank her for my pregnant wife and future son, Michelangelo, who is going to be born in January. For next year, my petition is the same: health for my family, and continued employment.”
“La Virgen is our mother, she is our queen, and we have so much faith in her. My petition is for her to help me bring back my sister who is in Mexico so she can reunite with all her family. It has been four years since I last saw my sister.”
“I see Our Lady of Guadalupe as my friend. When I feel alone, I speak to my Virgencita, when I have problems, I speak to my Virgencita. La Virgen has done a lot for me; I do beauty pageants, and this year was my third year participating in Miss California and I made it to the top ten. I couldn’t thank her enough; I hope to be able to win miss California next time.”
“I am very thankful to La Virgen because she cured my wife when she was very ill, I thought she was going to pass away. My petition to La Virgen is for my wife to continue having good health and for the well being of the rest of my loved ones.”
“La Virgen’ is important to me because my family taught me she is the mother of us all. My petition for her is to help me graduate from high school.”
“She gave me a miracle when my twins were born. They were born when they were only 6 ½ months, the doctors told me that they were not going to make it. I prayed to La Virgen, I prayed so much to her, and look at them now, here they are. For next year, my petition is stop the war in Mexico. There has been a lot of killings, I hope that ends. I also ask my family and for everyone.”