Francisco Hernandez Lopez led his troupe of feathered folk dancers onto the streets, joining hundreds of others. Clouds of incense filled the air. Dancers twirled and leapt in unison to the pounding drums, their anklets clacking like angry rattlesnakes. The procession slithered through downtown Houston to acknowledge the annual festival to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas. A third generation performer originally from Cuernavaca, Mexico, Lopez has now danced in 14 festivals in Houston honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe. For Sunday's celebration, his troupe - from the Church of the Holy Ghost in southwest Houston - practiced for months.
Pope says Catholics can receive plenary indulgence for Guadalupe devotion
La virgen de Guadalupe () - IMDb
See our picks. Title: Guadalupe: The Miracle and the Message The most important event in the evangelization of the New World occurred in December, Over the course of four days, the Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared to an indigenous convert named Juan Diego. As a result of this encounter, and the image miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego's tilma cloak , nine million Native Americans embraced the Catholic faith, and the Americas began its transformation into "the Catholic hemisphere.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saturday was the actual feast day, but visitors began arriving weeks before, many camping along the route. The shrine, the most visited Roman Catholic site in the Americas — and second in the world only to the Vatican — was closed from Thursday through Sunday. A massive security deployment sealed off nearby streets. The basilica's environs took on a ghost-town appearance except for the overwhelming police presence.
Millions come each year, many walking or biking for days from distant towns. This year, church officials agreed to close the basilica to prevent the spread of COVID, and offered virtual services and candle-lighting to mark the day without gathering. It was the first time the church has not welcomed huge throngs of the faithful since the modern basilica was being built in the s, and since religious conflict in the s shuttered an older basilica nearby. Barricades and police blocked the entrance to the vast plaza in front of the basilica. Stores nearby were still selling religious images and candles, but there were few buyers.