Epiphany, Good Shepherd students share love of Mary

By Michelle Martin | staff writer
Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Epiphany, Good Shepherd students share love of Mary

Students, faculty and parents from the Little Village parishes and schools honored Our Lady of Guadalupe by bringing the same spirit of the traditional processions to Des Plaines and to the Basilica in Mexico City by holding the 2nd Annual Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession and Mass from Epiphany School to Good Shepherd School in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood on Dec. 10, 2021. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Students process with roses to a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Principal Scott Ernst leads the procession to the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A student prays with the group. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
During Mass a student examines the stem of her rose. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Students share a moment during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Lorenzo Gamboa speaks to the students about Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Students raise up their flowers after Father Gamboa asks them too. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The students are silhouetted by the sun coming through the windows. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Gamboa celebrates the liturgy of the Eucharist. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A student kneels in prayer during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Gamboa blesses a student who blesses him in return during Communion. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A student holds two roses and waits to place them before the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A student places a rose before the statue. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A student approaches the statue with her flower. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

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.


  • catholic schools
  • our lady of guadalupe

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