Celebration of Guadalupe parades through Auburn

Organizers expect nearly 1,000 to attend
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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One of Mexico’s most popular religious ceremonies has found a home in Auburn.

For the second year, St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Auburn has organized a parade that will have nearly 1,000 people making their way through the streets of North Auburn accompanied by horses, mariachis and, new this year, a float with a live symbol of the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe celebration begins today with mañanitas, a traditional morning song in Mexico, during a service at St. Joseph Parish that runs from 5 to 8 a.m. and then the parade will gather at Regional Park on Richardson Drive at 3:30 p.m.

From there, the parade will continue to St. Teresa of Avila, 11600 Atwood Drive about two miles away, loosely following alongside Highway 49 – cutting behind Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and Home Depot – before turning toward the church, where a free dinner will be served, mariachis will perform and folk dancing will begin.

The event celebrates the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or the Virgin Mary, in front of Juan Diego near Mexico City, said Jose Garcia, who organizes the event for St. Teresa of Avila.

Garcia said it’s a tradition that should be important to the entire Catholic community, not just Hispanic members of the congregation.

“This is so important because it’s the Virgin Mary, the mother of God,” he said.

Last year, Father Michael Carroll put Garcia in charge of the Hispanic community at St. Teresa of Avila, and since then, that community has grown from 30 to about 200, Garcia said.

Garcia organizes the Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe, along with Juan Ramirez, and he said Carroll has played a large part in bringing the event to fruition.

Although he expects attendance to increase at the event this year, donations have not been as plentiful as before, he said.

“Father Mike helps us so much, and we try to do an event, and we can accumulate a little money, but it’s hard times, especially the Spanish community here in Auburn, there’s no work, nobody wants to hire them, and it’s just hard,” Garcia said. “It’s hard for all these people to donate what they don’t have for their own families.”

About 600 people attended last year’s feast and food quickly ran out, he said.

“If we run out, we run out,” Garcia said. “We’re coming together as a faith and a community and that’s what it’s all about.”

New this year to the parade is the float featuring a “live vision” of Guadalupe, represented by the 18-year-old daughter of one of the ministers, Garcia said. Throughout the parade, which is expected to last about 1 1/2 hours, she will be gazing down at the representation of a kneeling Juan Diego, he said.

“Our celebration of tomorrow is to express our renewal of devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary,” said Father Cesar Ageas of St. Joseph Parish.

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary requested a shrine be built where she appeared, but when Diego approached the bishop about it, the bishop said he would need a sign. When the Virgin Mary appeared a second time before Diego, she told him to collect roses. During a second meeting with the bishop, Diego opened his cloak, let the roses fall to the floor, revealing an image of the Virgin Mary inside his cloak.

Ramirez said he has been working closely with Garcia to make sure the celebration runs smoothly.

His favorite part about the event last year was how people turned out en masse.

“I like to get involved with the whole Spanish community, and get all these communities together, work together … and teach the community at the same time,” Ramirez said.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews