Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A feast day like no other


The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is nearly upon us.

Want the full Misa de Gallo experience as you'd have in Mexico or Latin America? Try St. Isidore Church in Quakertown, were the Mass begins on Friday and ends on Saturday. Yes, that's right, a midnight Mass with mariachis and roses and all the pageantry that accompanies this feast. The Mass will be celebrated by our Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, Msgr. Hugh Shields.

Not quite up for a midnight Mass? Try the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 12 instead. The Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali from 7 to 11 p.m. The usual crowd from St. Thomas of Aquinas parish is expected to absolutely fill the Cathedral. This promises to be spectacular. I don't know if there will be matachines -- also known as the "soldiers of the Virgin"-- with their amazing outfits (those are matachines in this post's lead image) but if there are, you are in for a treat

Nearly every parish across the Archdiocese that has a Spanish-language Mass will celebrate a Mass for Guadalupe's feast day: Immaculate Conception in Levittown, Our Lady of Fatima in Bensalem, St. Patrick in Norristown, Visitation in the city, Mision Sta. Maria in Avondale and St. Cecilia in Coatesville are the ones I know about, among many others I'm sure.

Truly, if you've never experienced this feast day Mass at a church with Latino congregants, you must. Veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe is joyful and festive and heartfelt -- and you'll never talk about pews empty of people again.
Next up in the Latino trifecta of the Christmas season: Las posadas -- which start Dec. 16 and run through Dec. 24.

(Photos by Sarah Webb and Joanna Lightner for the Catholic Standard & Times)

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