St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Los Angeles celebrated the enshrinement of a new image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day, Dec. 12. It replaced an image of the Patroness of the Americas kept in a special place of the church for the last half-century.

The celebrations coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Guadalupanos Unidos group, organizers of the traditional event held annually at the urban parish, which serves mostly Latino families and individuals from Mexico and Central America.  

The duel celebrations drew overflow crowds to 2727 Pico Blvd. The morning program began with the Mananitas, a birthday song for the Virgin performed by the Mariachi Voces de Mexico, followed by prayers and more songs to Mary by parishioners. After Mass celebrated by pastor Father Auturo Corral, the new image was enshrined and quickly surrounded by a rainbow of flowers.

Evening festivities featured a play performed by St. Thomas’ youth group of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill, near Mexico City, in 1531. This was followed by Mass, a concert with Mariachi Halcones de Jalisco and dinner sponsored by Guadalupanos Unidos.

“It was a huge celebration. Everyone was welcomed,” Father Corral said. “We were praying for immigrants during the unveiling of Our Lady’s new image.”