Catholics across the United States and Mexico are commemorating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a day of mass, blessings, dancing, and music. In North Texas, a significant gathering is expected at Cathedral Guadalupe in Dallas for the daylong celebration. This year holds extra significance in Dallas as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, was recently honored with the designation of a national shrine by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.
Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas expressed, “To raise the dignity of this cathedral to the status of a national shrine, because of all the people that we have seen who have come here, now we believe more will come.” Over the past two days, thousands have visited the National Shrine Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.
Having been a central figure in the local Latino community for over a century, the historic National Shrine Cathedral has deep roots in the cultural tapestry of Dallas. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated on December 12, is a time for Catholics to honor the Virgin Mary and embrace her message of love and unity.
The feast commemorates a vision of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican peasant, Saint Juan Diego, in 1531. During the apparition, the Virgin expressed “her maternal love and care for all humanity, especially for the people of Mexico and the Americas.” For Dallas resident Gabriel Gonzalez, the celebration embodies tradition and Mexican culture.
Anticipating a gathering of 50,000 visitors, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas prepares for larger crowds this year, following the elevation of the historic church to a national shrine. Father Jesus Belmontes emphasized the compassionate and blessed atmosphere of the cathedral, calling it an honor for the diocese.
Families like the Gomezes from DeSoto see the celebration as an opportunity to cherish both faith and heritage. Veronica Gomez shared, “It’s a family tradition passed down from my mother and grandmother, and I’d like to keep that alive for my daughters.”
Throughout the celebration, attendees bring roses to place at the altar, enjoying mariachi serenades and matachins dances. Pedro Muniz, a participant in the dances for over two decades, expressed gratitude through dance, saying, “We have no words to say ‘thank you’ so we express our thanks by dancing.”
The designation of the cathedral as a national shrine holds particular significance for North Texas residents with ties to Mexico, providing a connection to their homeland. Bishop Edward Burns led the celebration mass, followed by music and dancing on the cathedral plaza. The festivities concluded with a blessing of the flowers at 8:30 PM.
The event serves as a powerful reminder of faith, unity, and the enduring cultural and spiritual connection between Catholics and the Mother of God. Tens of thousands make a pilgrimage to the Dallas Cathedral each year between December 4 and 12, commemorating this extraordinary event. Last year, approximately 30,000 people participated in the observance at the Dallas cathedral, reflecting the vibrant Catholic community of over 1.3 million members across nine North Texas counties.
Looking ahead, Diocese leaders anticipate even larger crowds in 2031, as the global faith community marks the 500th anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary.