By Roman Flores
CALEXICO – As the joyful music of “La Guadalupana” rang out of a slow rolling float as it made a southward turn, 6-year-old Diego Rico started jumping up and down with excitement.
“¡Nana: La bendición! ¡La bendición!” he exclaimed, dancing with joy as the float rolled by the Our Lady of Guadalupe-muraled old Calexico Youth Center and Catholic Charities Shelter buildings.
The Knights of Columbus Council 4000, with help from Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) Church faithful in Calexico, held a vehicle procession a few days early on Dec. 7 in honor of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is celebrated on Dec. 12 worldwide.
Due to gathering restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers chose to forego the normal in-person, public recitation of the rosary and walk that usually processes from Rockwood Park to the church, they said.
Grand Knight Gabriel Herrera said the Knights contacted OLG Calexico’s pastor, Father José Sosa, to substitute the annual walk with a vehicle procession “to keep it alive this year.”
“What we want is for (Catholics) to see the procession from their homes, safely, and help us by being in prayer,” Herrera said. “It’s just to give them a little bit of encouragement in their lives right now with everything that is going on.”
Father Sosa agreed.
“As a Catholic, just remember: Mary gave us her son, Jesus Christ, and that’s why we want to honor our mother and ask Jesus to always be with us to protect us and give us this hope that we need, especially these days,” Father Sosa said.
Father Sosa said celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day in the Church is important because it echoes the message from God that she delivered to St. Juan Diego centuries ago: “No tengan miedo. Do not be afraid.”
“Creo que para nosotros tambien en medio de esta pandemia nos dirilla la Virgen Maria: ‘No tengan miedo. Confian en mi hijo,’ y por eso lo que queremos,” Father Sosa said.
“This procession can give us faith,” he said.