Thousands of Latino Catholics in Prince George’s County to Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 07, 2009

One of the most important dates on the calendar for Mexican Catholics is December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Locally, thousands of people in the Mexican immigrant community will gather in the heart of the Riverdale Park community for a day of festive events, including a midnight procession, singing, Mass, traditional Mexican food and a social gathering for the community in the parish hall:

Saturday, December 12, 2009
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
5700 St. Bernard’s Drive (near Kenilworth Avenue and Riverdale Road)
Riverdale Park, MD 20737
(Events are in Spanish except 8 a.m. Mass in English and Spanish; pastor is bilingual)

10:00 p.m. (Dec. 11) -5:00 a.m. (Dec. 12):
Stalls outside the church will sell traditional Mexican food, religious candles and other wares

Midnight-12:30 a.m.: Hundreds of people will process from the gym to the church accompanied by native Mexican Tehuanas dancers in costume and carrying a giant image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

12:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.: Participants will pray the Rosary, then various musical groups will sing Las Mañanitas (sung prayers to Mary, Mother of God)

4:00 a.m.-5:00 a.m.: Mass in Spanish

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.: Mass in English and Spanish


6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Bishop Francisco González will celebrate Mass, followed by a reenactment of the Miracle of the Roses associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe

4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.: Stalls outside the church will sell traditional Mexican food, religious candles and other wares

8:00 p.m.: Fireworks display

9:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. (Dec 13):
Music and dancing in the parish hall

Approximately 3,000 people are expected throughout the day. Throughout the night and day, people will bring offerings of flowers to the Blessed Mother into the sanctuary. Hundreds of flowers and candles will fill the sanctuary for the 6:00 p.m. Mass which will be standing room only.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a much beloved image of Mary, Mother of God. In 1531, Mary appeared to a poor Indian named Juan Diego in an area outside Mexico City. Roses miraculously appeared despite the harsh winter. Juan Diego carried these to the local bishop. When he dropped them, an image of Our Lady appeared on his cloak where he had held them. That image is still visible on the cloak, which is in a cathedral built on the site of the apparition of Our Lady. Our Lady of Guadalupe is credited with converting the nation of Mexico from paganism to Catholicism. Pope John Paul II declared Juan Diego a saint in 2002. His feast day is December 9. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day is December 12.

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
[email protected]