Area Catholics observe Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mario Aguirre plays religious music during a celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Monday in Portales. (Freedom Newspapers: Leslie Spence)

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

While millions of pilgrims flocked to churches in Mexico and the United States on Monday for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, area Catholics celebrated with a 6 a.m. mañanitas in Clovis and an evening rosary in Portales.

Three hundred people filled the pews at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Clovis for the mañanitas, or serenading, of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The event marked the 474th anniversary of when the Virgin Mary was believed to have appeared to an Indian boy, Juan Diego, at the mountain of Tepeyac near Mexico City

Since then, this sometimes controversial religious icon, believed to be the mother of Jesus, has been the subject of numerous alleged apparitions and was named “Patroness of the Americas” by the late Pope John Paul II.

In honor of this feast day, a torch was carried across the border into the United States as part of a two-month relay from Mexico City to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to raise awareness of immigration issues.

For more than 30 years, Martha Tellez of Clovis has attended the mañanitas at Our Lady of Guadalupe and was there again for the service, which included songs by a combined Spanish choir from Clovis and Texico and a mariachi singer.

“This is a part of our culture. We may be born in the United States, but Our Lady of Guadalupe is still ours. She is very dear to our hearts because she is the emperess of the Americas,” Tellez said. “She is also the namesake of our church.”

In Portales, where a small family observation was held at the home of Honorio and Marta Castillo, Marta said, “I love my mother so much, so I always sing her the mañanitas on Mother’s Day. Well Our Lady of Guadalupe is my mother too. It was because of her that Jesus came, so I respect her like I respect my mom.”