Procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe marches through East LA

For nearly two months, images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego have traveled throughout the parishes and cemeteries of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The mile-long procession of members of one parish after another walked, in some cases, with andas or float carts. Others danced in traditional Aztec costumes. All walked toward East LA College for a mass that has drawn tens of thousands each year.

This celebration of faith, hope and unity started in East LA 91 years ago. What’s celebrated is a miracle from the year 1531 in which, according to Father Parker Sandoval from the Archdiocese, "...God has revealed himself in a special way through the message and the apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who appeared in Mexico almost 500 years ago to a peasant Juan Diego, and we are celebrating the faith that she first brought to this continent."

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Archbishop Jose Gomez said on a day like this it’s important to reflect on the importance of unity and his predecessor, now-Cardinal Roger Mahoney told FOX 11, "We need today to give more words of hope and encouragement. So many people are kind of despairing and things [are] upside down. COVID didn’t help. Inflation doesn’t help. I think our roles as ministers is to really encourage people that God loves us and walks with us."

Archbishop Gomez said that as a family of God, we should get along and not be so divisive.

"We have to be understanding with one another; open to the reality of so many of our brothers and sisters and willing to help one another," he said.