A torchlight run and brightly costumed dancers helped the congregation of Dodge City's Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalup
A torchlight run and brightly costumed dancers helped the congregation of Dodge City's Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which commemorates Jesus' mother Mary and the appearance of Mary to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531. In melding of religious and cultural traditions, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe hosted a special mass at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, followed by a series of events including dance performances. The preparation for the Dodge City feast begins in the summer, when dance groups begin rehearsals for the elaborate choreography they bring to life the evening of Dec. 11 inside the cathedral. Local dance groups — Danza Tepeyak, La Santa Cruz, and Tlacoluteros whose dancers vary in age — performed at this year's feast. Nine days before the feast, a novena is commenced. A novena is a devotion of prayers that are repeated for nine days with Dec. 11 marking the ninth day. Two days before the feast, local participants and members of the Cathedral participate in the Carrera Antorcha Guadalupana, (Torch run). This year, participants journeyed to Wichita, Tuesday, Dec. 10 where they left the following day by foot to arrive at the Cathedral in Dodge City. The torch run involves a group of approximately 35 to 40 runners, who are followed by three vehicles that transport additional runners who alternate running the long-distance route. The two front runners carry a lighted a torch and upon arriving at the cathedral, the lighted torches are placed on the altar. "The Carrera Antorcha Guadalupana is a small sacrifice we offer the Lady of Guadalupe," Norma Alvarez, a member of the church said. The feast is then concluded with a special mass at 10:30 p.m. followed by spanish songs sung by various choirs.