Students from Epiphany School carried roses and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe as they walked from Epiphany, 4223 W. 25th St., to Good Shepherd Church, 2735 S. Kolin Ave., Dec. 10 stopping along the way to pick up their young classmates from the Good Shepherd campus of their school. The roughly 250 students then attended a Mass in honor of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated Dec. 12, and afterwards placed their roses in front of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe before having refreshments in the school courtyard. Epiphany Principal Scott Ernst said the school has always celebrated the feast, which is important in the Mexican community. Last year, with COVID-19 restrictions in effect, the students did an outdoor procession for the first time, Ernst said. This year, the school opened a second campus at Good Shepherd after Good Shepherd and Epiphany united as one parish as part of the Renew My Church process, with preschool and kindergarten classes to start. “How beautiful is it that the first time we are all together in one room is to celebrate Our Lady?” Ernst said at the end of the Mass. Olga Belfrain, who teaches third grade at Epiphany, said the procession added an element of pilgrimage to the celebration. “It’s doing what people do all over the world, and in Mexico City,” Belfrain said. Father Lorenzo Gamboa told the students that pilgrimages like their procession symbolize the way people move from place to place in their lives. The flowers they carried, he said, symbolized their love for Mary, and he told them to hold the flowers up for everybody to see. “This is how much you love the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said, gesturing to the flowers filling the church. Gamboa said that when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in 1531, the church was having a rough time. The Protestant Reformation was roiling Europe and Franciscan missionaries were not finding a receptive audience in what would become Mexico. After Mary appeared, dressed like a native princess, pregnant with hope for the world, hundreds of people wanted to become Catholic. “Hundreds and hundreds of people were evangelized, catechized and baptized,” Gamboa said. “So in a way, she is a missionary.” Brenda Jones, who has two sons at Epiphany School, joined other parents for the procession and Mass. “It’s a very important day for our community,” said Jones, whose mother and sister also came. “She’s very important to us.” Such events are also important for the school community, she said, to make other people aware of what the school offers. “People look and wonder what we are doing,” she said.