Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Saint Mary’s Community

Two weeks of events at SMC to honor La Virgen—culminating December 8 with a mariachi-led procession, Mass in the Chapel, and a fiesta in the Soda Center.

by Office of Marketing and Communications Staff | December 4, 2023

​Carrying on a Saint Mary’s College tradition that has blossomed in recent years, the campus community is in the midst of taking part in a two week-long celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. La Virgen is a source of hope for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized; Pope John Paul II declared her Patroness of the Americas.

The vibrancy of the celebration is thanks in no small part to a partnership between the Mission & Ministry Center and a course on Our Lady of Guadalupe, taught by Professor Anthony Suarez-Abraham in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. The pinnacle of the celebration is Friday, December 8, with a mariachi-led procession with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mass accompanied by mariachi music in the Saint Mary’s Chapel, and a community fiesta in the Soda Center with food, music, and dancing. 

Mariachi players at the Mariachi Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2022
A grand celebration: Mariachi Mass in the Saint Mary’s Chapel / Photo by Gerry Serrano

A Vision on the Hill

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12 in the Catholic church. That marks the date in 1531 when, ten years after the defeat of the Aztec empire in Mexico by the Spanish, Our Lady made an appearance to an indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, on the hill of Tepeyac. In the language of the natives, Nahuatl, La Virgen shared her desire for a church to be built so that she could show and bestow her love, compassion, help, and protection to all who call upon her and confide in her.

The Saint Mary’s celebration honoring La Virgen draws on half a millennium of faith tradition. And, thanks to a student, the celebration became something much grander and more inclusive just over a decade ago. When Yadira Guerruero-Garcia ’15 arrived on campus as a first-year student, she wanted to share her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary with the rest of the campus, envisioning a celebration that could be broader and more inviting. And so it has become an opportunity for the community to learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and participate in cultural traditions. 


Celebrations November 26 through December 8, 2023

Funded by campus-wide collaborators and the Student Life Enhancement Fee Grant, all events are free of charge.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27 | Our Lady of Guadalupe Cookie Decorating

7–9 p.m. Soda Center

Decorate cookies shaped in three symbolic elements of the story and image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While decorating, participate in a lively discussion of how you connect to the different facets of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28 | Whimsically Winter: Decompression with Expression

7:30–9:30 p.m Intercultural Center

Co-hosted by the Intercultural Center and Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Mission & Ministry Center. Take part in making gingerbread houses, and enjoy games, coloring, and holiday snacks! 


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 | Our Lady of Guadalupe Karaoke Night 

4:30 p.m. SMC pub

Join us for a night of singing as a community. Learn about the tradition of "serenata" as an expression of faith honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.


MONDAY, DECEMBER 4 | BFG Night: Learning to Dance Baile Folklorico 

7–9 p.m. Soda Center 

Join the Balie Folklorico Guadalupano (BFG) group for an evening of fun and festivities as they teach traditional folkloric dance! No experience is needed. All are welcome. Bring your dancing shoes.


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5 | Candlelight Rosary for Peace

7–9 p.m. Saint Mary’s Chapel

Set aside some time for prayer and meditation as we pray for world peace through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.



7–9 p.m. Saint Mary’s Chapel

Join us for a fun time with Lotería, a traditional game of chance, similar to bingo, played with cards. Enjoy pan dulce, hot chocolate—and a chance to win a prize.


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8 | Our Lady of Guadalupe Fiesta

Danza Azteca | 5:15 p.m. | Chapel Plaza

Rosary Procession | 5:45 p.m. | Chapel Plaza

Mariachi Mass and 
Liturgy | 7 p.m. | SMC Chapel

Fiesta | 8:15 p.m. | Soda Center

All are welcome for the grand finale of the week, which features Danza Azteca, with the Chapel facade illuminated by Our Lady of Guadalupe. Following the Danza Azteca, the traditional procession through campus begins at 5:45 p.m. and leads to a special Mariachi Mass in Saint Mary’s Chapel at 7 p.m. The Fiesta begins shortly after the Mass, at approximately 8:15 p.m. in the Soda Center. A buffet dinner catered by the much-loved Salsa Verde restaurant features live Banda music, a raffle, performances by Ballet Folklorico Guadalupano, and dancing late into the night. The event is free and open to all.

Painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe with listing of 2023 events as part of celebration


EXPLORE MORE: Check out the Our Lady of Guadalupe website.

For more information, contact Anthony Campos, America Lopez, or Stephanie Ramirez, who serve as Student Leaders for on the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration team within the SMC Mission & Ministry Center.

READ MORE: How One Student Ignited a Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Week-Long Saint Mary’s Tradition