Local Latina activist and businesswoman Maria Rodriguez-Winters is not Catholic, but she still plans to light a candle and be in prayer in celebration of the Guadalupe Day.
According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, a poor Mexican Indian, on Dec. 9, 1531 over Tepeyac Hill, which is now Mexico City. The bishop there did not believe Mr. Diego until the vision appeared again Dec. 12, calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe.
The days are treated like national holidays in Mexico and Toledo will have two celebrations honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“I'm United Methodist, but I appreciate what is being done by the church,” said Ms. Rodriguez-Winters, who runs an Allstate Insurance business at 1232 Broadway St. “I think it's a symbol that all people are special to God.”
The Rev. Richard Notter, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 728 South St. Clair St., said the celebration's increased popularity is closely tied with the increase of Latinos, particularly Mexican-Americans, in the area.
“The celebration is strongly identified with Mexico and Mexicans, so the celebration does cross religious lines for Latinos,” Father Notter said. “It's growing around the country with the growth of the Latino community. ”
The Diocese of Toledo has planned a diocesan-wide celebration Dec. 9 at Rosary Cathedral Catholic Church, 2535 Collingwood Blvd.
“The diocesan celebration has moved from city to city each year,” said Elena Caballero, director of Hispanic Pastoral Ministry for the diocese. “This was a Jubilee year with the church, we wanted to bring it back to Toledo and do something special.”
A mariachi band will play at 8 a.m. followed by the liturgical celebration at 10 a.m.
The Rev. Javier Saravia, a Jesuit priest and mission from Durango, Mexico, will give the homily and a group called “Who Do You Say I Am,” will provide the music during the Mass.
Lunch will be served in the Rosary Cathedral school gymnasium, followed by entertainment, workshops, and a children's arts and crafts and essay display.
The celebration will conclude that night with a scholarship dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Perrysburg, featuring Grupo Ilusion of Detroit. Ms. Caballero said money raised at the dance will go to benefit Hispanic students at Toledo central city Catholic schools.
Sts. Peter and Paul will hold its annual celebration Dec. 12. The church also will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church building that day.
The church's congregation was mostly German and German Americans until the 1960s and is now a major gathering place for Toledo's Latino community.
The Masses on Dec. 9 and Dec. 12 will both be celebrated by the Diocese of Toledo Bishop James R. Hoffman.