Story by Leigh Calfee
NEBRASKA CITY (SNR) —The Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration at St. Benedict Parish in Nebraska City has been an annual event for many years.
The 2018 celebration was filled with music, ceremonial dancing and traditional foods. It was also a time for members of the Spanish-speaking community to strengthen their faith in Jesus.
Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in the hearts of millions of people throughout the world, and Nebraska City’s Spanish-speaking community is no different. Monse Partida Sanchez attended the event at St. Benedict and said, “I would consider Our Lady of Guadalupe to be the center of our faith and culture. This celebration is important to the whole Hispanic community.”
The parish event began with Mass celebrated by Father James Morin. Father Morin is assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Nebraska City, and serves in Spanish-speaking ministry in the community, also teaching at Lourdes Central School. His homily centered on the importance of strengthening one’s relationship with Jesus through devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
During the festive meal, Father Morin again stressed the importance of strengthening faith in Jesus through devotion to his mother.
“Whenever you go to Mary, she leads you to Jesus. A strong devotion to Mary leads to a deeper relationship with her son,” he said.
Maria Marquez helped prepare and serve a traditional meal that included mole and tres leches cake. Marquez has a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, petitioning her in times of need.
“Our Lady is the mother of all Mexicans,” she said.
Gabrial Rodriguez also attended the celebration with his family. His devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is generational.
“She is important to me because my parents taught me to love her as Jesus’ mother,” Rodriguez said.
The annual event served as a way for the Spanish-speaking community in the Nebraska City area to stay connected to their faith, to traditions and to each other.
Sister Ana Maria, OSF, has been a part of the Hispanic community in Nebraska City for many years. She said Our Lady of Guadalupe is a very important part of the culture and there is a great devotion to her.
“Celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe helps everyone stay connected to faith and culture,” she said.
That devotion to faith and culture was on full display at St. Benedict’s Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration. From colorful dress to the traditional meal, the Spanish-speaking community in Nebraska City strengthened bonds with each other, and with Jesus, through his mother, Mary.