Wichita’s annual Our Lady of Guadalupe festival continues this week, highlighted Wednesday by a midnight Mass that’s expected to draw more than 2,000 to one local Catholic church.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church pastor, Father Jose Machado, said the service has grown substantially during his 14 years at the largely Hispanic parish — leaving no choice but to rent a tent to help accommodate the expected guests.
The mass begins late Wednesday night – at midnight – at the church, 2351 N. Market in Wichita. It marks the start of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day – Dec. 12 – and is the height of the weeklong festival, held in honor of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who is believed to have appeared in Mexico in the 1500s, centuries after her death.
“We had the church, then we had a little tent and now we have a bigger tent,” Machado said of housing those attending the growing festival.
“The church is not big enough (anymore).”
Other events at the church Wednesday include a rosary and prayer service, called Novena, 6 p.m.; Mexican food sales, 7-10 p.m.; and ethnic dancers, 7:30-10 p.m. A pilgrimage from Fairview and 29th Street to the church starts at 11 p.m.; the midnight mass follows.
Festivities set for Thursday are:
• Food sales, immediately after Wednesday’s late-night Mass
• Las Mananitas (morning celebration), 5:30 a.m.
• Ethnic dancers, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Mexican food sales, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• English Mass, noon
• Bilingual Mass, 6:30 p.m.
• Fireworks, 8:30 p.m.
The festival’s annual parade, postponed from an earlier date due to cold weather, begins at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Third and Waco in downtown Wichita, Machado said. The parade will travel north on Waco to 21st Street, jog east to Market and end in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
“It’s more than religion, it’s something in the culture,” Machado said of the festival. “That’s why Our Lady of Guadalupe is so important.”