Thousands of people ignored the frosty temperatures Sunday evening and Monday morning to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in northwest suburban Des Plaines.
The holy pilgrimage began at Maryville Academy and then folks walked Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.
Hundreds of people continued to make their way early Monday morning, bringing flowers and candles and praying for hours.
Celebrating Mass in Spanish to the thousands in attendance, Cardinal Blase Cupich acknowledged the countless number of people that braved the snow and cold, with some walking as many as 20 miles.
“It shows some level of deep faith of people that they really do put their trust in God, not in themselves or anybody else and i think that’s a wonderful message for us,” Cupich said.
The shrine in Des Plaines is a replica of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Many flock here each year and last year they reached a record 300,000 people. For some families, it’s a tradition passed on.
“It’s really special. It’s been passed on from generation to generations. It’s a very nice feast,” said parishioner Rosa Coronado.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in Mexico back in the 16th century.
The celebration brings many people closer to the Virgin Mary and closer to their own beliefs.
“You come to something like this at 5 a.m. and everyone has come out and thousands of people walked here in the cold how you not walk away energized that there is still hope in a tough world?” said Jennifer Patel.
The celebration did come with some politics as well. Cardinal Cupich addressed the topic of immigration to the majority Latino crowd and highlighted his thoughts that a lot of work needs to be done.
“It’s clear to me that we surely can do better, and as I said, it’s part of the heritage of our country, to be a country that welcomes immigrants and embraces them, not as a problem, but as a blessing,” Cupich said.
Mass continues every two hours at the Shrine all day, with the final Mass scheduled for 7 p.m.