Omaha Catholics celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe

With a new anniversary of the manifestation of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe on the horizon, Omaha Catholics join the rest of the world in worshiping and paying tribute to the guadalupana by paying a special visit to the many churches that showcase her image.

"The Virgin has been good to me and has filled me with blessings and miracles,” said Ana Gonzalez, who plans to arrive at 3 a.m. to offer champurrado during the end of the celebration at St. Peter’s Church

It is expected that thousands of people devout to the Virgen Morena will pack all churches to sing her the traditional mañanitas.

In Mexico, people sing Las Mañanitas at people on their birthday. However, the song is also traditionally sung to a beloved woman, wife or mother. It is many times sung very early, close to midnight, and it is still sung right upon the early hours of the birthday.

And Virgin of Guadalupe is not the exception every December 11 and 12.

In Omaha, the “Virgencita” has managed to become a tradition during said dates, and the celebration continues to become stronger and stronger each year. Nowadays famous artists from the region offer a concert in the parishes of South Omaha, as is the case for Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Peter.

The cold weather has never kept people from keeping all temples at full capacity.

This Mexican tradition started 486 years ago when the Virgin appeared before Juan Diego, and it’s a tradition that has transcended past the Mexican borders.

"More than a tradition it is the faith we have on the Virgencita de Guadalupe, saint patron of all immigrants,” said Mexican Jaime Nuñez who plans to be present along with his musical group to join the celebrations in South Omaha.

“This is part of the heritage we are transmitting to our children, so that their faith is not lost and they are always aware that we have someone who protects us, a mother who watches over us and who always helps us when we need her,” said 45 year-old Matilde de Jesus Blanco, a devout believer who will join the festivities at St. Agnes along with her husband and children.

Perhaps this is why it’s usual to see people on their, children, young people or entire families among those celebrating during the event – everyone comes together to sing the mañanitas as one. After this, they all participate in a mass and then share some champurrado with Mexican bread.

According to the Omaha Police Department, the celebration has always taken place without any incidents. Even though thousands of people take part in the celebration, there has never been a need to implement a special task force to maintain the peace since all participants always do so peacefully and in an orderly fashion, without generating any chaos.

“The virgencita morena allowed me to travel to this beautiful land and today I will kneel at her feel, as I do every year, to congratulate her,” said 67-year-old Jesus Esteban Montes, who prays so that one day he can return to visit his homeland.

Saint Joseph’s Church and Saint Peter’s Church are the catholic temples that, along with Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Agnes, receive the biggest number of Latino Catholics during the event, and which have been modifying and implementing colorful festivities during this religious celebration.

“As immigrants, now more than ever we are in need of her protection and help, so that we can reach the hearts of those who attack our people and of those who have a chance to help to modify the immigration regulations which every day have become more strict,” said family man Pedro Garcia, who for the last nine years has joined the festivities along with his family members.

The passion and devotion for this tradition can be felt especially during the celebration of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and the history books of this city will once again record that the mañanitas for the “virgencita” continue to be a great tradition that each year grows stronger.
Bernardo Montoya

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