San Gabriel / St. Gabriel’s, Leesburg Celebrates the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Dec 15, 2023 | Stories from the Diocese

San Gabriel/St. Gabriel’s, Leesburg, hosted its ninth Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 10. The congregation honored Our Lady with a traditional Eucharistic service in which the altar is transformed to depict the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Mariachi Imperio provided all hymns and service music this year, and the Mass concluded with an indigenous Mexican folkloric dance. The service was followed by a fiesta of traditional foods and loving hospitality.

Bishop Stevenson and the Very Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, Vicar of St. Gabriel’s/San Gabriel, shared in celebrating the Eucharist at this year’s Misa Guadalupana, or Guadalupe Mass, alternating from Spanish to English. Bishop Stevenson preached and Father Vélez-Rivera interpreted.

The annual Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is an important day in the life of San Gabriel/St. Gabriel’s, Leesburg. The congregation held its first Guadalupe Mass in 2015 to launch its Spanish language service. The Misa Guadalupana was requested by San Gabriel’s Latino ministry launch team to honor the religious traditions of new members. La Virgen de Guadalupe is celebrated in many Latino countries.

The Story of the Virgin of Guadalupe

In 1531, Juan Diego, a devout and humble Mexican, encountered the Virgin of Guadalupe on Mount Tepeyac. She asked him to visit the archbishop on her behalf and request a church be built there. The archbishop was incredulous, demanding proof. When Juan shared this with the Blessed Mother, she encouraged him to advocate further on her behalf. Upon returning to the mountain, Juan found Our Lady had covered the mountain with roses, which were neither native to the area nor in season. Our Lady asked Juan Diego to take the roses to the archbishop. So he gathered the roses in his poncho. He returned to the archbishop and, when he opened his poncho to reveal the miraculous roses, there was something more miraculous – an image of the Blessed Virgin imprinted on his cloak. The Bishop felt this was proof of the miraculous encounter and approved the construction of what is today the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.