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For St. Mary’s Students, Sunrise Isn’t Too Early to Celebrate

Families gather at 6 a.m. to mark Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Kindergartners and first graders wear the tilmas they made.
Kindergartners and first graders wear the tilmas they made. (St. Mary of the Assumption School)

At 6 a.m., most people are just getting up, but on the morning of Dec. 12, about 300 Santa Maria community members and students were already at St. Mary’s School for a sunrise celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“We had volunteers arrive by 5 a.m. to prepare for the day’s events and make breakfast for everyone,” said Michelle Cox, St. Mary’s School principal. “Then a little before 6 a.m. community members and students came.”

“I thought it would be hard to get her ready for school today,” said a first grade parent. “But she was wide awake and excited to come to school early.”

“People are always surprised when I tell them we start school before sunrise,” said Cox. “It’s a real joy seeing their smiling faces and hearing laughter that early in the morning.”

The large group celebrated La Virgen de Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe. They sang songs including Las Mañanitas and prayed before sharing a community breakfast. Students performed a reenactment of the 1531 visitation of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a peasant farmer, Juan Diego, on a hill near Mexico City.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of the Americas and holds a very special place in the hearts of many people in the Santa Maria Valley," Cox said. "By celebrating, we join with millions of people around the world honoring the events and praying for a bright future.

"St. Mary’s School is the heart of the community where we celebrate and teach our heritage and beliefs.”

After attending Mass, students created crafts from tilmas to Christmas ornaments commemorating the special day before a flower procession and assembly.

St. Mary of the Assumption School, founded Sept. 14, 1938, is the Santa Maria Valley’s oldest Catholic School. For more information, contact Cox at 805-925-6713 or email [email protected]

— Michelle Cox for St. Mary of the Assumption School.

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