Cruzada Guadalupana: Thousands gather to honor Our Lady

Despite the rain, thousands participated in the Cruzada Guadalupana pilgrimage on Dec. 3 from All Souls Parish in South San Francisco to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, finishing with Mass with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. The pilgrims also made a brief stop in Colma at Holy Cross Cemetery on their way to the city.

Started in 1993 by Pedro and Martha Garcia, parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, the 29th annual Guadalupana event was the first in two years after pausing during the pandemic. While a Mass was held in 2021, this was the first full pilgrimage since 2019.

The day began at 5:30 a.m. at All Souls Catholic Church in South San Francisco where Martha Garcia estimated 4,000 people gathered to pray and walk in procession toward the city. And, when they arrived in Colma, Garcia said that there were hundreds more pilgrims waiting for them, many arriving from the Bart station. As they walked, the crowd grew in size and devotion.

After praying at Holy Cross, the pilgrimage continued to San Francisco, finishing at the Cathedral with a vibrant and lively ceremony on the plaza that included traditional dancing, prayer and a release of three doves. The crowd then moved inside the Cathedral to pay tribute to Our Lady at the Guadalupe Shrine.

Those journeying along the streets of San Francisco prayed for different intentions, some carrying pictures of loved ones, while others processed on their knees asking for Our Lady’s intercession. Upon reaching the Cathedral and Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one grandmother helped her young granddaughter from her walker to sit in front of the image of the Blessed Mother, praying for her healing.

 “We can rejoice because God is with us, and God’s Mother accompanies us to take us to Him,” said Archbishop Cordileone in his homily to more than 2,000 pilgrims present for Mass.”No matter what any other suffering we may endure – economic hardship, poor health, fear resulting from vulnerability, even the emotional and financial distress of a pandemic – we can rejoice because God is with us.  This no one can take from us: our faith, and the sharing of our faith, coming together to worship God and honor the greatest honor of our race, the Mother of His Son.”

The Archbishop ended his homily chanting, “Que Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Que viva sue hijo Cristo Rey! Que viva la Santa Iglesia Católica! Que viva la Archidiócesis de San Francisco!” And the crowd joyfully responding, “Viva!”

The Cruzada Guadalupana now prepares for its 30th anniversary pilgrimage in 2023.

Photos: Dennis Callahan, Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Colleen Hera

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