Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration held in Beloit Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Pat Casucci, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
Guadalupe Children
Children pictured by a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe are, from left: Jaeda Zuniga, Yandel Ruiz, Carlos Zuniga, and Ariadna Ruiza. (Contributed photo)

BELOIT -- More than 600 people honored Our Lady of Guadalupe at a lively, yet spiritual celebration on her feast day, December 12.

The evening's events included a concert by the Mariachi Juvenil del Sur Band from Harvard, Ill., Mass, and a sharing meal featuring Hispanic specialties.

People from Beloit, Janesville, Clinton, and areas of Northern Illinois gathered at Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) Church for the celebration that is meaningful and part of the heritage to residents in Latin American countries, especially in Mexico.

They reverently honor the occasion when Mary appeared to the Mexican peasant, Juan Diego, in 1531.

Speaking in the Spanish language during the Mass, Fr. John Hedrick, pastor of St. Jude and St. Thomas Parishes, was principal celebrant. Assisting were: Fr. Mike Resop, pastor of OLA; Msgr. Dan Ganshert, pastor of St. Stephen Parish, Clinton; and Deacon Jim Davis, St. Jude Parish. Monsignor Ganshert gave the homily in Spanish.

Dressed in traditional outfits, the Mariachi band also sang and played for the Mass. Their distinctive, spirited musical style is the music of the people, according to Araceli Montoya, Hispanic minister for the Beloit/Clinton Cluster. "It is the music of the people, part of our Mexican heritage," she said.

Montoya planned the celebration and was pleased at the large turn-out. "I'm so happy we can celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. This kind of celebration has been a tradition for my ancestors and my family. It is true of many families. It is our religious and cultural identity," Montoya said.

With joy and gladness, as Mass began, dozens of people brought floral bouquets to the altar and placed them around a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

At the conclusion of the Mass, the celebrants, altar servers, and the Mariachi Band formed a semi-circle around the painting with prayers and songs in adoration.

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