Tens of thousands of pilgrims have flocked to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Des Plaines, Illinois, for a two-day celebration of the feast of the famed Marian apparition. The shrine is expected to have received more than 100,000 visitors by the end of the festivities, which continue through Monday evening.
According to a report from ABC, featured above, the celebration opened with Mass followed by a firework display. Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago was on hand to celebrate the Mass and formally launch the event. It is the largest annual gathering of pilgrims to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States.
The pilgrims coalesced around the greater Chicago area beginning on December 11, with some making the trip on foot. ABC interviewed one attendee, Ana Navarro, who said she walked 15 miles — a pilgrimage that took upwards of five hours to make.
Local outlet WGN9 notes that the celebration in Des Plaines coincides with the two-day pilgrimage in Mexico City to honor St. Juan Diego and the apparition of the Blessed Mother, who appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. Yulissa Ochoa, an attendee who has been to both the Mexico City and Des Plaines celebrations, noted that in Mexico City, the faithful sing “Happy Birthday” to Our Lady of Guadalupe at midnight on December 12.
See more of the Des Plaines celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the video below.