Sacred image of Our Lady visits area parishes, Oxnard Día de Los Muertos event

A sacred image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will visit Catholic parishes in Fillmore and Oxnard this week before being part of a Día de Los Muertos celebration Saturday that is expected to bring thousands to a local cemetery.

The pope-blessed image is a digital reproduction of the original kept in a basilica in Mexico City. Catholics believe the image is proof of the Virgin Mary’s appearance to peasant Juan Diego in Mexico.

Our Lady tours the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles along with an image of Juan Diego in an annual pilgrimage. Parish stops in Ventura County include:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, St. Francis of Assisi, 1048 W. Ventura St., Fillmore: The image is expected to arrive at about 9 a.m. Tuesday and can be viewed throughout both days. The schedule includes Masses at 11 p.m. Tuesday and 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

  • Thursday and Friday, Mary Star of the Sea, 463 W. Pleasant Valley Road, Oxnard: The image is expected to arrive at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday with a welcoming Mass held at 7 p.m. Our Lady can also be visited throughout the day on Friday with Masses at 8 a.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish.

The images will be on display at the Día de Los Muertos event at Santa Clara Cemetery, 2370 N. H St. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a Mass at noon. A cultural celebration begins at 1:30 p.m. with music, children's activities and folkloric dancers. The event ends at 5 p.m.

Related: Ventura County guide to Día de los Muertos events

A 16-foot-tall cross made with thousands of marigolds will also be displayed at the cemetery. Community altars will honor more than 100 local people who have died. Visitors can bring photos or mementos for loved ones who have passed.

"It's a time to really reflect on our loved ones and what they meant to us in a very joyous way," archdiocese spokesperson Adrian Marquez Alarcon said. "We're talking about things that are difficult but in a celebratory way."

Our Lady's pilgrimage continues throughout the archdiocese, culminating with an East Los Angeles procession on Dec. 3 that usually brings thousands of people and includes Aztec dancers, Mexican equestrian groups and others. It begins at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 at Avenida Cesar Chavez and Ford Boulevard and includes a stop at Our Lady of Solitude Parish for blessings from Archbishop José H. Gomez.

The procession ends with a 1 p.m. Mass at East Los Angeles College's stadium, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park.

Tom Kisken covers health care and other news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at tom.kisken@vcstar.com or 805-437-0255.

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This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Sacred Our Lady of Guadalupe image tours Ventura County sites

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