Our Lady of Guadalupe

'We Need Hope': Latino Catholics Commemorate Virgen de Guadalupe Through Virtual Events

“It’s dramatically different this year,” said Monsignor Arturo Bañelas in El Paso, Texas, as Catholics observe the celebration amid coronavirus restrictions

In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe is among items left by worshippers in a shrine at El Santuario de Chimayo in the hispanic village of Chimayo, New Mexico. The chapel, a National Historic Landmark, is famous for the story of its founding and as a contemporary pilgrimage site.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, honoring the Virgin Mary, has been celebrated by Latino Catholics for hundreds of years, with large gatherings of the faithful at Mass and processions, NBC News reports.

In past years, the celebrations have included rosaries, mariachi bands, ministries and plays for children and adults. Family and friends from neighboring Juárez, Mexico, would cross the international bridges to join in celebration.

But in the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic along the border, the observance on Saturday by the El Paso Diocese will be virtual — a choice that has been difficult, but necessary, to maintain both faith and public health.

“It’s dramatically different this year,” said Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas, of St. Mark Catholic Church. “Last year, we had thousands of people come. We’re doing the same, but it’s all livestreamed."

The Dec. 12 celebration, also known as El Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, marks the date in 1531 when the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Indigenous peasant, to ask that a church be built on the side of a hill outside of Mexico City.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com

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