Oblate Parish Revels in Feast of Guadalupe

Caseyville, Illinois

Text and Photos by Will Shaw, with thanks to Fr. Salvador Gonzalez, OMI

The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe is colorfully decorated and prominently placed on the altar

Entering the church of St. Stephen’s in Caseyville, Illinois on the evening of December 12, the outside chill was quickly forgotten in the warm, celebratory atmosphere of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A diverse parish, St. Stephen’s boasts a significant Hispanic population for whom this feast is especially meaningful.

The pastor, Fr. Harold Fisher, OMI, welcomed the local Bishop, Michael G. McGovern, to celebrate the Eucharist on this special occasion.

After Mass, everyone was invited to the parish hall for a feast of traditional Mexican dishes prepared and served by parishioners. In addition, the enthusiastic crowd was entertained with an authentic Mariachi band and traditional dancing featuring colorful indigenous costumes and masks.

Celebrated on December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates the Virgin Mary – who is the Patron saint of Mexico – and commemorates her appearing to a poor indigenous man, Juan Diego, in Mexico City twice in 1531.

This holiday is popular not only in Mexico, but throughout the United States and all across the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered the patroness of the Americas as well as the patron saint of unborn children.

Below are some photos of St. Stephen’s special night of faith, pageantry, and fun.

Prior to Mass people come to pray and lay bouquets of roses before the statue of the Virgin
An authentic Mariachi Band, “Nuevo Azteca” provided the music
The congregation standing for the procession
Fr. Fisher welcomed the crowd and the Bishop to St. Stephen’s
“Mary’s life helps us come closer to understanding what was in the mind, thoughts and intentions of God in creating human beings.”
After Mass the congregation went to the gym for food and entertainment
The first group of dancers featured costumes associated with Michoacán, Mexico, called, “ danza de los viejitos” 
The costumed dancers whirled about the floor
Next came “Los listones”
The women did some amazing things with their brightly-colored ribbons
The final group danced and dressed in the style of “tapatio”