A sizable crowd of nearly 100 gathered in the rain outside of St. Joseph Catholic Church to process for the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration in Augusta, Georgia on December 13. All eyes were upturned at the statue of the Virgin Mary, enshrined in white roses and baby’s breath, as she was hoisted above their heads.
Leading the procession were about 20 Aztec dancers in glistening bead-laden ensembles. They danced with ayoyotes—Aztec bells made of hard shells—on their ankles, in rhythm to a beating drum. The dancers ranged from ages 5 to 45.
Among the dancers was 15 year old Mariana Olalde who donned a peacock feathered headdress, which matched her blue ensemble. Olalde began dancing for the celebration’s procession when she was four years old.
“My mother wanted to keep me in touch with our culture,” Olalde says. Keeping in touch with the culture surrounding the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration is no small affair either. Olalde said the celebration would continue the next day, as it is her family’s tradition to attend another celebration. “We usually go to somebody’s house for another party, [and in attendance] it’s usually 50 or 60 people.
Olalde’s family is one of many Latino families in attendance at St. Joseph’s.
The homily, given by Father Pablo Migone, assistant to the Bishop, Vocation Director and Chancellor of the Diocese, featured frequent transitions from Spanish to English.
Father Migone explains his role to accommodate the language needs of all members of St. Joseph’s so that they may receive Mary’s message of patience to Juan Diego and learn about God’s patience in waiting for his followers to live by his words.
Although one may test God’s patience from time to time, “He never gets tired of giving us opportunities. With his patience, many great feats have been accomplished,” said Migone.
And just as God gives his followers patience, his followers should aspire to freely give it as well, according to Migone. This includes having patience with oneself, which can be especially difficult as you’re always your own worst critic. Migone said that although it is hard, with God we can change for the better.
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