The 85th annual procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Los Angeles area's oldest religious procession, will be held Sunday in East Los Angeles and Monterey Park.
The mile-long procession will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Ford Boulevard in East Los Angeles and will feature floats, equestrian groups, mariachis and indigenous dancers. Awards will be given to the three floats that most creatively depict the procession's theme, "Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protector of Family.'"
The procession will also include Catholic school students escorting La Peregrina, an exact digital reproduction of the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City's Basilica.
The procession is the culmination of the pilgrimage of the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego to more than 50 parishes and detention centers in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The pilgrimage began in September with the first visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Church on Santa Catalina Island.
The procession was established by Mexican Catholics who fled persecution by the Mexican government, according to Adrian Marquez Alarcon, the director of media relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The procession will be followed at 1 p.m. by an outdoor mass at Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College celebrated by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez with priests from throughout the archdiocese. More than 30,000 people are expected to attend, Marquez Alarcon said.
This year is the 485th anniversary when the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531, leaving her image on his cloak. The image has been a symbol of unity, peace, compassion and hope for people around the world.