Our Lady service is mix of faith and culture

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dozens of red roses surrounded an Our Lady of Guadalupe statue at the Port Arthur church of the same name.

The Rev. T.R. Blanco said he didn’t expect too many people to show up Tuesday, the beginning of a three-day novena, because there are so many older, sick people in the congregation. They would have trouble getting out on the dark, and the night’s torrential rains didn’t help. But the older, faithful crowd did show up to honor Mary as the Mother of God.

“This is a mixture of faith and culture,” Blanco said, referring to the Mexican-American tradition.

Our Lady of Guadalupe refers to a vision Juan Diego had of the Virgin Mary in 1531 on a hillside in Mexico. She asked a church be built on the site and roses grew in winter.

Blanco said faithful Catholics and others still honor her message that she is “mother of the true God; she is for real,” Blanco said.

During the services, to continue at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, children will present flowers. The idea is to get young children interested in carrying on the tradition, Blanco said.

“If we get 35 people, I will be happy today,” he said.

Blanco said he does expect large crowds for a Friday service Dec. 12, Mary’s feast day. The church, known for its large statue of Mary and Juan Diago on Ninth Avenue, will host a “mananitas” serenade with mariachis at 4:45 a.m. with a Mass at 5 a.m. La Asociacion de Damas will provide hot chocolate and Mexican pastry at a reception to follow.


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