Annual event honors diocesan patroness

Karen Lopez and Juan Navarro on their float during the Honor Your Mother celebration parade and mass in Downtown Phoenix on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (File photo)
Karen Lopez and Juan Navarro on their float during last year’s Honor Your Mother parade. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN Archives)
Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, pictured in this 2010 photo, serves as the metropolitan for the ecclesiastical province that includes the Diocese of Phoenix, and will be the guest homilist for the annual Honor Your Mother celebration Dec. 3. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, pictured in this 2010 photo, serves as the metropolitan for the ecclesiastical province that includes the Diocese of Phoenix, and will be the guest homilist for the annual Honor Your Mother celebration Dec. 3. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531, she bridged two cultures. Now, nearly 500 years later, she continues to do the same as the patroness of the Diocese of Phoenix.

The 12th annual “Honor Your Mother” celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe will be held Dec. 3, beginning with a procession from Immaculate Heart of Mary to St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix and concluding with an outdoor Mass in the plaza outside the basilica. Parish groups, apostolates and troupes are invited to participate in the procession.

Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe will be the guest celebrant and homilist. As archbishop he also serves as the metropolitan for the Santa Fe Province, which encompasses all of the dioceses in Arizona and New Mexico, including Phoenix. Archbishop Wester had previously served as bishop of Salt Lake City and as chairman of the USCCB’s committees on migrants and communications.

“I can certainly see his message tying in with his experience in working with migrants, especially there in Utah,” said Ignacio Rodriguez, associate director of the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries, which puts together the annual event. “His appointment there in Santa Fe is a totally different experience because you have Hispanics who’ve been rooted there for generations and so that’s going to give him a unique perspective.

Honor Your Mother

Saturday, Dec. 3
Groups are invited to participate in the procession.
Info: (602) 354-2042 or (602) 725-0497

“To have the metropolitan here, he can give us a bigger picture of what he’s experienced and what the Hispanic community and the Hispanic presence means to the Church in the United States,” he added.

Just as Our Lady of Guadalupe bridged the cultures of the indigenous populations and European settlers, in Phoenix she also serves as a bridge between Hispanics and Anglos.

“It’s still two different cultures, still two different languages, but we place ourselves under the banner of the Virgen, and she will assist us and pray for us so that Christ forms His Church — one Church,” said Armando Ruiz from St. Catherine of Siena Parish who serves on the planning committee. “We may be two different cultures, maybe two different languages, but one Church. That’s what this event does.”

EN ESPAÑOL: Evento anual honra a la Patrona Diocesana

 

As patroness of the diocese, she bridges all cultures, said organizers, noting representatives from the Eritrean and Japanese Catholic communities who regularly participate in the procession.

“We have a lot of groups that have come from different countries like Asians, Eritreans, Latin Americans …. So the majority is Mexican and Anglo groups, but we have many groups from different countries,” said Ruiz’s wife Monica, who also serves on the planning committee. “They don’t have a dancing group but they have costumes from their original countries and we encourage them to wear those costumes.”

A young boy plays the maraca in this file photo from last year’s event honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Phoenix. Thousands attend the colorful, annual celebration. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
A young boy plays the maraca in this file photo from last year’s event honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Phoenix. Thousands attend the colorful, annual celebration. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

Armando said that Our Lady’s message of hope is especially relevant today just as it was in the 16th century, noting a sense of anxiety surrounding the current political climate.

“People are out there and they’re afraid and … they’re looking for which institution can provide them hope — so people are really looking to the Church to fill that role,” he said. “The Church offers that consolation; it offers hope in an environment of fear.”

“Honor Your Mother” also functions as a diocesan feast day celebration, said Rodriguez, noting that when the diocese was established in 1969, it was founded under Mary’s title as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“She doesn’t only belong to the Hispanic community or Mexicans in particular — she is a patroness for the entire diocese,” said Rodriguez. “So whether we’re Anglo or whether we’re Polish or whether we’re Vietnamese, she’s our patroness for the diocese and we should be able to find a day to give honor to her.”