JANESVILLE — St. Patrick Church in Janesville was the host site for a Mass in celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 6:45 p.m.
Javier Valenzuela, principal of Oaklawn Academy in Edgerton, initiated and orchestrated the feast day celebration for the combined Janesville parishes represented by concelebrating pastors Fr. Randy Timmerman (St. John Vianney), Fr. Stephen Umhoefer (Nativity of Mary), Fr. John Auby (St. William), and Fr. James Kuhn (St. Patrick).
Confessors taking part in the Mass were Frs. Michael Moon (St. Rose of Lima, Brodhead) and Francisco Higuera (St. Patrick, Lodi). The main celebrant was Fr. Andres Martinez of the Legionaries of Christ of Oaklawn Academy in Edgerton. Approximately 400 worshippers attended.
The Mass began with a procession headed by the bearer of a large gilt-framed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by the clergy and children carrying flowers and other tributes, which were laid surrounding the portrait on the altar.
At that time and throughout the Mass, the South Beloit Hispanic Choir and guitar accompaniment along with children from three area Catholic grade schools provided a variety of songs appropriate to the celebration.
The Mass was in Spanish, with English translation provided in the program for the readings and petitions. They were delivered by students from Oaklawn Academy, who also hosted a fiesta with food, drink, and fellowship held in the school cafeteria following Mass. The congregation formed a procession from the church to the school, headed by clergy and the image of Our Lady.
The large portrait was purchased by the Oaklawn students for the festival and they graciously donated it to St. John Vianney Parish. The festive decorations for the fiesta were created by Victoria McCulloch, Spanish teacher at St. John Vianney and fourth and fifth grade students.
Students of Oaklawn knelt on the floor in a semicircle surrounding the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe and recited a decade of the Rosary to close out the memorable evening.