Oklahoma City Catholic parish pays tribute to Our Lady

With dancing, singing and prayers, about 2,000 people paid tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Thursday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in south Oklahoma City.
by Carla Hinton Published: December 14, 2013

Salma Bueno, of Midwest City, and a friend came bearing a handful of pink roses, a picture of Our Lady and a lace mantilla featuring Our Lady's image. Bueno, 22, said she hoped to get a priest to bless the picture and mantilla before the evening was over.

Bueno said she braved the crowd and the weather because the feast day is important to her.

“It feels so nice to be here to pray, and it's her birthday,” Bueno said of Our Lady. “It's a tradition, and it's respectful of her.”

Color and symbolism

The rose bouquets carried by many in the crowd provided ample pops of color during the festivities. The rose bearers set them near an altar area where images of Our Lady of Guadalupe had been arranged.

Matachine dancers, performing in colorful red and white finery, brought smiles to the eyes of those who gathered inside and outside the school gymnasium and church.

They danced with enthusiasm, many with “clappers” on their feet to stomp out evil and “awaken” Our Lady of Guadalupe, also called the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The folk dance, called “los matachines,” continues a tradition that 16th-century Spanish missionaries brought to Mexico, where it became a fixture at public and private celebrations, particularly those honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.

‘An act of love'

Moreno said the large crowd that gathered for the popular feast day activities is an indicator of the growing pains of many predominantly Hispanic parishes within the archdiocese. The archdiocese encompasses two-thirds of the state, while the Tulsa Diocese includes Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma.

Moreno said Archbishop Coakley has established a Metro Hispanic Committee to help come up with solutions to overcrowding at parishes like Sacred Heart. Moreno, a member of the committee, said some solutions are obvious, such as having more parishes celebrate Mass in Spanish and asking churches that only offer one Spanish Mass to offer a second one.

He said the solution may come down to building a new church or churches to deal with the growing Hispanic population.

“The archbishop says this has to be solved,” Moreno said.

“Basically it's an act of love — you make room for those you love.”

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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