The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Wednesday, but a parade, special Mass and Parish Hall reception were held on Sunday.

The parade started at Simon Park about 12:30 p.m. and moved down Front Street into St. Joseph Church. La Danza San Jose, a local Hispanic dance group of 27 members led by Claudia Brito, processed to the sounds of drumbeats and a brass band.

Behind the dancers was a crowd of people, including four men who carried a likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe on their shoulders. Associate St. Joseph pastor Father Joseph Archibong walked among them.

There are about 300 Hispanic families who belong to St. Joseph Church. Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image. It goes back to 1541 when a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego had an apparition of the Virgin Mary and instructed him to have a church built on the hill where he saw her.

Juan spoke of his vision to the local archbishop, but he was skeptical and asked Juan to return with a miraculous sign to prove her identity. When Juan saw Mary again she asked him to gather flowers from the hill. He found Castilian roses not native to Mexico and brought them to her. Mary arranged them in Juan’s cloak, and when he opened it in front of the bishop the flowers fell to the ground and an image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted on the fabric of his cloak.