Latinos in the Pittsburgh Diocese are observing a significant holiday Wednesday.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates a story from the 1500s, where the virgin appeared to an indigenous man in Mexico named Juan Diego. It’s dated shortly after the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spaniards. The series of apparitions of Mary resulted in a surge of evangelization across the continent.
While the holiday originated in Mexico, Latinos and Anglos alike are invited to the special mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.
“We are not celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe as queen of Mexico. We are celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Empress of America. So that will include all the people of the continent,” said Jorge Vela, coordinator for the dioceses Latino ministry.
Vela was responsible for bringing a large replica painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the diocese from Mexico City last year. In the image, the virgin appears pregnant, as symbolized by a black ribbon tied around her stomach. Vela said even the frame is an exact replica of the image of Our Lady at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The mass will include a procession of the painting, a flower procession, and readings in many different languages. “Just to make sure that we are all inclusive,” said Vela. “Why? Because her love includes everyone.”
Vela said he anticipates nearly a thousand attendees since the entire diocese is invited.
Ceremonies including a holy hour begin at 5:30 p.m. Mass begins at 7.