The love of Catholics for the Blessed Virgin Mary flowed out from their homes, unto the streets of Philadelphia and into the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on Thursday night, Dec. 11, the vigil of Our Lady of Guadalupe. People carried ornate images and statues of the Blessed Mother adorned with flowers as they walked from their homes to parish churches in North and South Philadelphia and then along the streets to the cathedral. The street procession’s departure points were the churches of St. Thomas Aquinas, Annunciation B.V.M., St. Michael, Visitation B.V.M. and St. Joan of Arc. Once inside the packed cathedral, the congregation reviewed all the images as they passed by in procession. The worshipers then prayed and sang Marian songs in a ritual known as Las Mañanitas. It was followed by Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput. Read an explanation of the feast by Norristown pastor Father Gus Puleo. (Photos by Sarah Webb)

Men and women carried large displays honoring Mary, some with painted images and flowers, some with statues and brightly colored decorations.

Walkers in the procession carry the flag of their homeland, Mexico, and the flag of their new home, the United States of America.

The faithful of Visitation B.V.M. Parish in the city’s Kensington section carry a banner as they proceed to the cathedral.


The mariachi band serenades Mary at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in las Mananitas, the procession and ritual preceding the Mass at the cathedral.

The huge procession makes its way to the front of the cathedral on 18th Street.

Children carry a statue of the Blessed Mother in procession.

Typically at the Mass, children dress in traditional Mexican attire and also as St. Juan Diego.


People with cameras of all kinds wanted to remember the images of Our Lady in the cathedral.


Members of el Mariachi Flores, a mariachi band, provide music in the cathedral.

St. Juan Diego, who witnessed apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 and revealed her to Mexican church authorities, was also honored in the procession.

Archbishop Chaput blesses the cathedral’s shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, decorated by the faithful for the occasion of the feast day.

Archbishop Chaput processes up the center aisles of the packed cathedral at the start of Mass.

Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe brought by people attending the Mass line the altar rail of the cathedral as Archbishop Chaput prays the collect prayer during Mass.