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The matachines danced down the center aisle to the sound of a constant drum beat as they led the Bishop and the faithful into the church prior to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass at St. Pius X in Glencoe on Sunday, Dec. 9. Adorned in velvet and silk fabric, the dancers’ outfits displayed an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe along with hundreds of noise-making shells.
On the weekend of Dec. 8-9, parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm (Montevideo, Litchfield, Marshall, Fairfax, Willmar, Hutchinson, Glencoe, Gaylord, and Litchfield) celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In what began primarily as a religious feast day in Mexico, the day is now celebrated in countries throughout Latin America and in the United States. In 1945, Pope Pius XII proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe “Queen of Mexico” and “Empress of the Americas,” a position re-affirmed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop John M. LeVoir presided at Mass on Sunday, Dec. 9 at St. Pius X in Glencoe. Several hundred predominantly Latino/Hispanic faithful attended the feast day Mass. Bishop LeVoir and the faithful processed into the church led by a group of dancers – known as the matachines. Adorned in velvet and silk fabric that included an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe along with hundreds of noise-making shells, the matachines danced down the center aisle to the beat of a large drum. Some parishioners who came to worship carried flowers to be placed in front of a painting of Our Lady.
The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorates the appearance of Mary to Juan Diego, a poor Mexican laborer, on Dec. 9, 1531. When Mary appeared, she identified herself as the Mother of the True God, Creator of all things, and asked Juan Diego to request the Bishop of Mexico to build a church on the site of the apparition. The bishop at first hesitated, telling Juan Diego he would like to see a sign from the Virgin Mary.
Three days later, she again appeared to Juan Diego, sending him to the top of the hill to gather an assortment of roses miraculously blooming in mid-December. Juan Diego placed the flowers inside his tilma, a poor quality cactus cloth, and went back to the bishop. Standing before him, Juan Diego opened his garment. As the roses fell to the floor, they revealed an image of the Holy Mother on the tilma.
The bishop was convinced and built the first sanctuary in 1533. The current Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe was built in Mexico City in 1976. According to a website dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, an estimated 10 million people visit the site every year, making it the most popular Marian shrine in the world. Juan Diego was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002, with his feast day celebrated Dec. 9.