Williams residents can celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe tomorrow with St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
The church will start the day with mañanitas, or morning prayers, at 5 a.m.
In the evening, a procession will start at about 6:15 p.m. at the Mustang Gas Station at the east end of town. A trailer carrying a representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe will lead the procession down Railroad Ave. to the church. Mass takes place after the procession at about 7 p.m. The church services will be in Spanish.
The celebration commemorates the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac, Mexico on Dec. 12, 1531.
St. Joseph's Pastor Kilian McCaffrey gave the following history of the celebration's origin:
On Dec. 9, 1531, an Indian man named Juan Diego was walking to mass near Mexico City in the early morning hours when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared. She asked Juan Diego to visit the local bishop and ask him to build a church where they were standing. When the bishop heard this, he told Juan Diego to ask the woman for Castilian roses as a sign, since the roses do not grow in December.
On Dec. 12, 1531, the woman appeared before Juan Diego again with the roses. Juan Diego gathered the roses in his frock and brought them to the bishop. When Juan Diego dropped his frock to reveal the roses, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe had appeared on the frock.
"It's this incredible heavenly apparition and image, which for 480 years hasn't deteriorated," McCaffrey said. "It's a beautiful story. It's what we call a Marian apparition or a Marian miracle, having to do with Mary."
After the bishop had seen the sign, a church was built in the area where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego.
For the celebration in Williams, McCaffrey is expecting a few hundred people to participate.
"This is the biggest day of the year for the Hispanic folks," McCaffrey said. "We're looking forward to it a lot."
St. Joseph's Catholic Church is at 900 W. Grant Ave. More information is available at (928) 635-2430.