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St. Catherine of Siena helps usher in Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Teens pray near a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a wall in Leon, Mexico. Business owners are known to paint murals of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the sides of their convenience stores or auto repair shops. (CNS photo/David Maung)

WILMINGTON — Parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena in Wilmington have been preparing for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12 with a novena that began Dec. 3. Each night, the Hispanic community is gathering at parishioners’ homes to pray the rosary in English and Spanish and to reflect on miracle of Guadalupe.

The feast day celebrates the appearing of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego, a 57-year-old farmer and laborer, on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec temple, on Dec. 9, 1531. The apparition instructs Juan Diego to visit his bishop and ask that a temple be built on the site of her appearance. The basilica is one of the most-visited pilgrimage sites in the world.

This icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in St. Mary Parish in Whiting, Ind. The image can be seen on traditional banners celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe, highlighting her widespread impact throughout this continent. (CNS photo/Laura Ieraci, Horizons)

Pastor Father John Hynes encouraged his parishioners to attend in at least one of the home novenas.

“The Mexican culture is very welcoming, the family bonds are strong, and the Virgin of Guadalupe is the mother of all,” he wrote on the parish website.

The novena makes a stop at St. Catherine of Siena Church on Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. On Dec. 9, the parish will have its annual mile-long procession along Centerville Road beginning at WalMart at 10:30 a.m. Mass will take place at the church at 12:30 p.m., with a fiesta to follow in the Martin Center gymnasium.

The parish’s celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe continues on the feast day itself, Dec. 12. People will gather at the church at 5 a.m. for Las Mañanitas, a series of Spanish morning songs. They will be performed by Mariachi Los Arrieros de Mexico.

“Let’s be there for each other,” Father Hynes wrote. “You will experience joy, a prayerful encounter, and warm welcome and hospitality.”

St. Catherine of Siena is located at 2503 Centerville Road, Wilmington. For more information, call the parish’s Hispanic Ministry office at (302) 633-4919.