Catholics throughout the Americas gathered in churches today to celebrate the feat of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
During his homily at a mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict prayed that God would guide the decisions of the Latin American people, so they could progress in "building a society based on the development of good, the triumph of love and the expansion of justice."
He added that he intends "to make an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba before Easter to proclaim the word of Christ and to strengthen the conviction that this is a precious time to evangelize with a steady faith, a lively hope and an ardent charity."
Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Kansas City, Missouri several hundred gathered for the 5:30 a.m. music. They were greated with a mariachi ensemble in front of the church. Minutes later, in a procession both solemn and festive, punctuated with the steady drum beat, celebants filed in for mass.
In the procession was NCR Layout Editor Toni-Ann Ortiz, for the past two years a member of the local Guadalupana society. The society's major yearly event is the Mananitas Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day. As part of the tradition roses are used to decorate the church and mass is followed by a breakfast of tamales, hot chocolate, and sweet rolls.