A special celebration to recognize Our Lady of Guadalupe is taking place in Des Plaines this weekend as thousands make their way to the shrine in her honor.
“We believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe because actually she has done a couple of miracles for me personally,” said attendee Hilda Munoz. “So this is something that we can not miss.”
Being able to pay homage in person means so much to some visitors including Luz Andrade and her family.
“It’s a feeling you just can’t describe, the emotion the happiness," she stated. "We drive an hour away every year to come. Rain, shine, storm, we’re here."
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She visited with her two daughters—an experience they say they’ll never forget.
“A lot of emotions because I have a lot to be thankful for just being here, being with my mom,” Jasmine Andrade said.
The celebration was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a precaution, this year pilgrims are being told to wear a mask and to practice social distancing if possible.
“I think the pandemic has hurt us in many ways not just physically,” said Rev. Esequiel Sanchez, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “But I think emotionally, I think we’ve lost some self-confidence and when you do an exercise such as this, where you bring flowers and you come as a family, children and everyone, it brings up your courage.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Mexico City during a time of need and now, centuries later, her words of encouragement live on.
“That’s our call to people,” Sanchez said. “Listen to that voice, there’s a strength behind you that you have to have access to do what you got to do and to keep going fulfilling what God called you to do.”
Mass and prayer services are scheduled for nearly every hour on Sunday. The closing mass is at 6 p.m.