HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Our Lady of Guadalupe day is one of the biggest celebrations in the catholic community.

According to tradition, Mary, mother of Jesus, appeared to Juan Diego in a suburb of Mexico City on December 12, 1531. At the time of La Conquista in Mexico.

Father Gomez said Mary’s appearance helped bring two continents together and gave people hope.

Throughout the years it has been a tradition to celebrate on December 12 with a night filled with mariachi, flowers, singing, devotion and faith.

However, said that tradition did not take place last year at the basilica due to the pandemic. 

“We just had set up an altar outside for people to come and light up their candles,” said Father Gomez.

This year, the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is excited to bring back the tradition. Father Gomez said safety precautions will be in place because COVID-19 is still spreading.

“Wearing a face mask inside the basilica is highly recommended even when it is not mandatory but it is highly recommended for everybody, we have hand sanitizers at the entrance,” he said.

In addition to masks, social distancing is highly recommended.

Father Gomez said a large turnout is expected because the Lady of Guadalupe day lands on a weekend.

To ensure mass schedules run smoothly the next day, he said organizers at the basilica have come up with a plan. 

“This year we are trying to organize it in such way that after mass we can close the basilica because next Sunday we start with the next mass at 7 a.m.; at 11:30 p.m. we will have the rosary and 11:45 p.m. we will have the mañanitas with the mariachi and the midnight mass exactly at 12,” he said. 

According to Father Gomez, the Lady of Guadalupe Day has been a part of the basilica’s history since the beginning. 

“People have faith and they show their devotion to our lady and this is the time that we need it the most,” he said.