On December 2, Santa Clara University Mission Church was filled with the sights and sounds of the traditional pageant “La Virgen del Tepeyac: The Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The colorful costumes, dance processions and poetic songs tell of the spiritual visions of an Aztec farmer in 1531, and are shared in Spanish, with commentary in English.
“The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on December 12 in the Catholic Church, so that is why the program occurs at this time of year,” says Lulu Santana, Associate Director of Campus Ministry, Santa Clara University. The story tells how the mother of Jesus appeared to Juan Diego, in what is now present day Mexico City. Juan Diego is asked by Our Lady of Guadalupe to tell the local bishop to build a church for the indigenous people in her honor. The bishop does not believe that such a miracle would be spoken to a ‘common’ farmer as well as in the Aztec language, so he asks for a sign. Juan Diego collects roses to give to the bishop, and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image appears on his tunic when he does so. It is the same image that is on the side altar of the Mission Church and at other Catholic churches.
“Recently, Juan Diego was canonized as a saint. This story has profound meaning today as it shows we are all children of God and gives people hope,” Santana explains.
Presented by Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in San Jose and Santa Clara University, the drama is a showcase for the talented Sacred Heart Parish’s “Teatro Corazon,” and the Sacred Heart Parish’s multi-age dance troupe, “Danza Yoloxchitl.”
“There is also a mixture of Santa Clara University students in the production,” says Santana. The students participate as part of a religious history class.
“This year the person who plays the lead role of Juan Diego is Angel Perez,” she says. Perez, a senior at Santa Clara University, is also part of the Sacred Heart Parish. He has been in the presentation several times.
The young people in this parish are exposed to college students through the collaboration between Sacred Heart and Santa Clara University in putting on this play. “Angel Perez is a great symbol of the hope of higher education. That is one of the biggest reasons why we started doing this event years ago,” concludes Santana.
An additional opportunity for college attendance is celebrated at the same time as the sacred drama. The San Juan Diego Scholarship recipient is publicly acknowledged on that date. Committee members from Santa Clara University and Sacred Heart Parish choose a Sacred Heart student who has already been accepted to Santa Clara University and pay the student’s full tuition. The choice is made on the basis of academic achievement, leadership skills, and outstanding service to the Hispanic community.
This year, at the open reception following the free theatre, Mayra Salvador’s name was announced.
The 550 people in attendance had an inspiring, uplifting afternoon.