Faithful return to Des Plaines shrine to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe
Thousands of pilgrims from throughout the country flocked Saturday to Des Plaines for a celebration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rev. Esequiel Sanchez, the shrine's rector, celebrated the opening Mass at 7 p.m., which was to be followed by "Las Mañanitas," a traditional serenade to Our Lady of Guadalupe, at 11 p.m.
Festivities continue Sunday at the eponymous Catholic shrine at Maryville Academy, 1170 North River Road.
The shrine honors Jesus' mother, Mary, and marks reported visions of her in Mexico City in 1531.
Masses will be celebrated through the weekend, culminating with a closing mass at 6 p.m. Sunday. Services will be given in English and Spanish and livestreamed on the shrine's YouTube and Facebook pages.
Representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health are offering free COVID-19 vaccinations during the two-day celebration, Sanchez said.
Free parking is available at Palwaukee Plaza, 664 N. Milwaukee Ave., Prospect Heights, Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, and at St. Emily's Catholic Church, 120 N. Stratton Lane, Mount Prospect. Free buses shuttle people to and from those lots to the shrine.
Parking at the shrine is free Sunday. No alcohol or guns are permitted.
"We want to make sure the feast remains a safe, family event," Sanchez said last week.
Drivers should avoid River and Central roads near Maryville during the gathering, police said.