By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — At 5:30 a.m. Dec. 12, a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe was illuminated with a spotlight. No other lights in St. Mary Church were on other than a string of Christmas lights outlining the painting of Our Lady.
About 20 people recited the rosary in Spanish as las mananitas (Morning Prayer) began at St. Mary’s. The church lights were turned on as recitation of the rosary continued, followed by the litany of saints. People began to fill the church to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. They brought flowers, mainly roses, to place before the painting.
At 6 a.m. Father Guillermo Trevino began Mass in Spanish in the church now filled with people. He wore a white and gold vestment with impressions in those two colors of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Father Chris Young concelebrated.
The Hispanic community at St. Mary’s and other parishes in the Davenport Diocese with Hispanic presence celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe that day.
St. Mary’s parishioner Manuel Toquinto said the feast is especially important to people from Mexico, but it is also celebrated by others of Hispanic or Latino descent.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates the appearance of Mary to peasant Juan Diego (now a saint) in Mexico more than 430 years ago. Toquinto said Diego went to the local bishop and told him that Mary asked for a church to be built in Mexico City in honor of her. “He asked for proof,” Toquinto said. After witnessing his fourth apparition of Mary, Juan Diego returned to his bishop with a tilma (cloak) filled with flowers. When he opened it, an image of Our Lady was imprinted in the cloak. The church was built and today millions flock to the church each year on pilgrimage, parishioner Rosario Castel said.
Following Mass, the Quad-City dance troupe Danza Guadalupana danced in the church, then followed a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe as it was carried across the street to the parish center. Members of the Knights of Columbus blocked Fillmore Street for the procession. Dancing continued at the center. A reenactment of the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe was also performed.
Castel said the feast draws crowds every year. When the feast falls on a weekday, las mananitas are held in the morning, but Mass is held in the evening so people can get to work. Following the dancing, the parish served a meal of menudo soup, sweet breads and hot chocolate.
“This is a real celebration for us,” Toquinto said. “Mary is the mother of Christ and mother of the church.”