Cruzada Guadalupana to celebrate 30 years

By Mary Powers

Thirty years ago, Pedro and Martha Garcia gathered with friends to plan a pilgrimage from South San Francisco to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“We wanted to let her know…that we love her and to really express [this love to her] by doing this pilgrimage,” said Pedro Garcia.

The first year, 80 people gathered at All Souls Catholic Church in South San Francisco to begin the journey, and as they walked to the cathedral, many others met them along the way. The pilgrimage has grown exponentially over the years, reaching more than 39,000 faithful in recent years.

When the Garcias approached then-Archbishop John R. Quinn, he was quick to give his consent telling them that he too was a Guadalupano. He was devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe and even asked Rome to set the date of his episcopal consecration on Dec. 12 in honor of her.

Beginning at All Souls Catholic Church early in the morning, the pilgrimage travels to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma for a quick stop and then continues to the cathedral. The pilgrimage is followed by devotions to Our Lady and Mass with the Archbishop. The many pilgrims who travel through the city carry intentions with them for friends and family who need prayers or in gratitude for prayers answered.

Last year, Archbishop Cordileone, in his Cruzada Guadalupana homily, delivered to more than 3,000 people at the cathedral, told those present:

“Of course, she always comes to walk with us. The reason we ask her to do so is not to get her to pay attention to us so that she will come and walk with us, but rather to open our hearts in welcome, so that we might be ready to receive her when she comes and we might walk by her side that we might be ready to welcome her Son with open arms and open hearts, He who comes to meet us, to save us and to take us to the house of His Father.”

This year, the Cruzada Guadalupana will take place on December 9, and will follow the same pilgrimage path—from All Souls to the cathedral, stopping briefly at Holy Cross Cemetery. Archbishop Cordileone will celebrate Mass at 2 p.m. at the cathedral, followed by a reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the pilgrimage.