Faith, in all it's different expressions, is a beautiful thing. And today is all about faith.
From the traditional mariachi playing "Las Mañanitas" at mass to the "fiesta" outside on Main Street where the Banda music blared and couples danced, it was one giant celebration in honor of "La Virgen de Guadalupe".
December 12th is the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and across the world, Catholics are honoring the Virgin Mary on her day.
It was in December of 1531 that the Virgin appeared to an indigenous peasant named Juan Diego in the hills of Tepeyac, outside Mexico City.
But poor Juan Diego was not immediately believed when he told others of his amazing encounter. The Spanish Archbishop of Mexico City ordered Juan Diego back to El Tepeyac to ask for a sign, something to show that he truly had spoken to her so Juan Diego did as ordered.
The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of the hill where he reportedly found beautiful roses blooming on the normally barren land. He wrapped them in his cloak, known in Mexico as a "tilma" (a poncho-like cape made of cactus fiber) and took them to the Archbishop on December 12th. When he opened the tilma, the roses fell out and stamped on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. How it got there is the miraculous part.
The tilma is displayed at "La Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe" in Mexico City, one of the most visited shrines in the world.
The Church declared Juan Diego a saint in 2002, formally naming him Saint Juan Diego.
But back to faith. I just interviewed a lovely lady, Raquel, who carried with her a plaque with an engraved 'Virgencita' she says has been in her family for 41 years.
Raquel and her husband were among the thousands who came to Olvera Street's La Placita Church this morning to honor the Virgen Mary on her day....and to give thanks.
Pointing to her belly, Raquel shared she was five months pregnant with a little girl who will be named Sofia Guadalupe.
"We lost our first pregnancy"' she says sadly. "I prayed to the Virgin to help me get pregnant again and here I am. I had to come and say 'gracias'."
Faith...it's a beautiful thing.