December 20, 2020
Catholic churches and drive-by parades have become synonymous with bringing the community together, commemorating special occasions like ordinations and weddings, and celebrating feast days.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated in Mexico and the United States on December 12. Mary is the Patron Saint of Mexico and Patroness of the Americas, and the feast in her honor goes back to the 16th century when she appeared to a poor 57-year-old Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac in a small village in Mexico City. The man had been baptized and given the name Juan Diego. Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego as someone who looked like his people is a powerful reminder that Mary accepts all peoples. Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated across the city and the Diocese of El Paso annually. The only difference this year is how people "came together" to celebrate her.
St. Raphael Catholic Church began last Saturday with a live streamed Mass on the church's Facebook page and then a drive-by parade. Parishioners either watched Mass at home or from their phones inside their cars and then drove up to a makeshift shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe with offerings of roses and bouquets for the Blessed Mother. Individuals, couples, and families received a blessing from their pastor, Fr. Tony Celino and his associate, Fr. Iván Montelongo. The Knights of Columbus helped with directing traffic, and volunteers lovingly arranged the flowers for Mary. It was a joyous occasion that ended with a prayer and a "grito".
St. Raphael, like churches across the diocese, continues to find ways to bring us together and keep us united in faith by embracing new ways of doing things. Catholic churches in El Paso are now open for personal prayer and a Christmas opening was announced on December 18.
The Catholic Foundation wishes you a very Merry Christmas!