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Praying to La Virgen for Immigration Reform

Mundo Hispnico , News Report, Johanes Rosell, Translated by Elena Shore Posted: Dec 12, 2009

Some Latinos are praying to La Virgen de Guadalupe for fair immigration reform. According to Father Jorge Arevalo of Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta, this year the faithful are taking advantage of the special occasion to pray to the patron saint of the Americas for an immigration bill that will benefit them.

The Catholic community celebrates La Virgen de Guadalupe on Dec. 12. On this day in the year 1531, according to Catholic beliefs, she appeared to the Indian Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on a hill in Tepeyac, Mexico.

Guatemalan immigrant Eugenia Lima, who has been in the country for more than 40 years, is one of the faithful who will join in the prayer for immigration reform.

"What Im asking La Virgen is to put a thought in the presidents head to make him prioritize (immigration) reform, because this is like a cancer that is eating us Latinos. I know she can do it," she added.

A Special Ceremony

For Elibeth Maldonado and Alejandro Renteria, the celebration of La Virgen de Guadalupe carries has a special meaning this year. Along with 13 other couples, they will be married during mass at the Christ is King Cathedral.

Renteria explained that this ceremony will be a great blessing for the Mexican couple, who have been living together for nine years and have three children.

The couple said that each year they bring flowers to the patron saint of Mexico and ask for her blessing for the next year, for good health and job opportunities.

But this year Renteria will also be praying for the U.S. government to enact reform that allows immigrants to stay in the country legally. She explained that if an immigration reform bill is passed, her family will be free to leave their house without fearing that they will be detained for driving without a license.

Keeping Tradition Alive

The Baslica de la Guadalupe in Mexico City wont be the only scene of festivities today. Hispanic parishioners in Georgia will also keep the tradition alive by singing songs, putting on plays about her apparitions and conducting mass in her honor.

For example, in addition to 14 weddings scheduled for today, the Parish of Christ the King will conduct a special Quinceaera mass to ask for good health and protection for girls.

Other churches in the state are holding special celebrations.

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The Saint of Drug Cartels

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