People sang and prayed while they took the traditional route from St. Louis Bertrand Church in East Oakland to the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice
More than 5,000 of the faithful braved rain to walk a 7.5 mile procession through Oakland to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe Dec. 1.
"It makes me cry to see the devotion of the people," said Hector Medina, director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Oakland and one of the organizers of the walk, seeing the crowd.
"I see barefoot people, and dozens of mothers with babies in strollers covering them from the rain with plastic. It shows the people's faith. This is our culture, of which we are proud," he added.
There were floats representing more than 10 parishes in the diocese depicting the apparition of the Virgin, Aztec dancers and groups of people dressed in Indian costumes. They sang and prayed while they took the traditional route from St. Louis Bertrand church in East Oakland to the Cathedral of Christ the Light in an event begun in 2006.
A year ago, John Ruan's father was bedridden with cancer. This year, father and son walked more than half the distance to thank the Virgin for the father's improved health.
"Not only my dad, but my mom walked who recently had a knee operation ... It's unbelievable," said the younger Ruan who attended the pilgrimage for the first time.
Antonia Ortiz walked with her son Israel, who was dressed as St. Juan Diego. "My parents instilled in us this tradition, and now I want to show it to my children," said the mother, a resident of Fremont.
At the end of the procession, the people were welcomed by Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, apostolic administrator of the diocese, who celebrated a special Mass in Spanish with several Latino priests.
The cathedral was so packed that big screens simulcast the Mass in the conference center.
The choir was made up of members of different choirs and a mariachi band from St. Cornelius Parish in Richmond.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Above, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, apostolic administrator of the Oakland diocese, greeted people as they arrived at the Cathedral of Christ the Light before the Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 1. Above right, different choirs and a mariachi band played music and sang; and right, more than 5,000 people braved the rain during the 7.5 mile procession from St. Louis Bertrand Church in east Oakland to the cathedral.
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