Two people perform a Mexican folk dance. Miguel Aguilera and Itayetzin Vazquez perform a Mexican folk dance at St. Francis Church in Geneva Dec. 7 during a celebration leading up to the Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day.

Geneva parish’s events celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe

Close to 100 people gathered in Geneva Dec. 7 to celebrate the days leading up to the Dec. 12 feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A parish committee at Geneva’s St. Francis Church, which is part of Our Lady of Peace Parish, organized several events to commemorate the feast day, including a Dec. 7 rosary, traditional meal, and dances of the states of Michoacan and Oaxaca, Mexico.

“The purpose of this celebration is for us to come together, to share and celebrate as a way of us being thankful for her (Our Lady of Guadalupe’s) gifts and blessings,” said Marilu Segura, a member of the committee.

The rosary began at 6 p.m. at the parish center at St. Francis Church, with committee member Yolonda Cortes leading the recitation. The rosary was followed by the singing of hymns dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, such as “Paloma Blanca,” “Mi Virgen Ranchera” and “La Guadalupana.”

The committee not only organized the Our Lady of Guadalupe events but also raised the funds necessary to present them. According to Sister of Mercy Kay Schwenzer, Hispanic ministry coordinator for Our Lady of Peace Parish, the committee sold tamales and other traditional Mexican foods to raise money for the celebration. Committee members also prepared the meal on Dec. 7 that featured Mexican pozole, a corn soup consisting of pork, spices and served with lettuce.

Following the meal, an hourlong dance known as the Baile de las Mascaritas was presented, featuring eight couples dressed in costumes. As they danced, a bull’s head dress was passed among individuals in the audience, who were invited to dance with the couples. At the end of the dance, candy was thrown into the audience.

Segura said that this is her fourth year performing in the dance during the parish’s Guadalupe celebrations. She said such traditions are important for members of the local Mexican community to keep alive in the United States.

(EMC photos by John Haeger)

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