Embracing Tradition and Faith: The Vibrant Mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration in Reading

By Waldo Alvarado, Principal of St. Margaret School, Reading

In the city of Reading, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe has woven itself seamlessly into the spiritual calendar of Catholics, becoming a precious household tradition. Marking its 21st year, this celebration unites Catholics and their pastors from four city parishes in a tribute to the Virgin of the Hill of Tepeyac. The festivities exude reverence and devotion, fostering a spiritual connection among the faithful.

The celebration kicked off with a novena at St. Paul’s Church, Reading, where parish pastors delved into the significance of this historic event. Through the recitation of the Rosary, attendees earnestly prepared their hearts and minds for the upcoming grand celebration. However, the pinnacle lied in the Solemn Mass presided over in Spanish by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Alfred A. Schlert, Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown.

“It brings me great joy to be with you and to celebrate this special day for our Church, as we commemorate the apparition of our Mother, the Virgin of Guadalupe,” said Bishop Schlert in Spanish. “In one of her messages to Saint Juan Diego, she asked, ‘Am I not here who am your Mother?’ That question marked a before and after in Juan Diego’s life, and I hope it can also become a point of reflection for us today.”

For years, the Santander Arena in Reading has served as the ideal venue for this Mass, accommodating the multitude of devoted Catholics who gather annually for this special occasion. Attendees predominantly come from Mexico, where Our Lady of Guadalupe holds the title of Patroness. Yet, the assembly represents a tapestry of Latin-American nations, united in honoring the celestial mother. While the Mass remains the focal point, the celebration extends beyond, offering additional events at the Santander on this special day.

The day begins with a Mariachi Band and the traditional “Las Mañanitas” at 5 a.m., followed by an early morning Mass setting the spiritual tone. As evening approaches after the main Mass, the arena bursts to life with vibrant music, colorful folkloric dances, and an array of delectable ethnic food.

Mrs. Josefina Adames, president of the Planning Committee, explained that this year's celebration was guided by the motto, “Families praying together for world peace,” a timely theme in our tumultuous world. This heartfelt plea for global harmony resonates deeply within the community, advocating for unity, compassion, and hope during challenging times.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration serves as a testament to faith and a vivid cultural festivity, uniting diverse communities under the canopy of spirituality and shared reverence. It embodies a celebration of faith, culture, and devotion—a demonstration of the enduring legacy of the Virgin of Guadalupe and her deep influence on the lives and identities of countless believers worldwide.

As the 21st edition concluded, the Catholic Church in Reading once again embraced this time-honored tradition, inviting all to partake in the spiritual richness and cultural display of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration.


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