The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was celebrated throughout the Diocese of Scranton on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.

The annual observance commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican Indian, Juan Diego, in December of 1531.

The Blessed Mother’s message of hope continues to inspire people of Hispanic descent, especially those from Mexico.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s celebrations were much more subdued across the Diocese. Large processions, which traditionally take place in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton were suspended in order to protect the public.

Masses marking the celebration continued in the Valley cities, along with East Stroudsburg, Jermyn and Hazleton among other places.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera celebrated two Masses, the first at Saint John Neumann Parish in South Scranton at 11:00 a.m., the second at Saint Nicholas Parish in Wilkes-Barre at 6:00 p.m.

While noting how this year’s celebrations are different than normal, the bishop said the Virgin Mary’s words should be a powerful reminder to all of us.

“Her words emerge from a world filled with suffering and pain – a world of hardship, abuse, struggle and grief – a world in many ways no different than our own,” Bishop Bambera said. “Yet, her praise of God and her willingness to say ‘yes’ to God’s plan to bring salvation to His people are rooted in a faith so strong that it serves as the blueprint for authentic discipleship down through the ages, even to our own day.”

Bishop Bambera told the faithful that sometimes we take the depth of Mary’s faith for granted.

“When the angel announced to her that she would be the mother of God, she was not informed that her son would suffer, be put to death and then rise from the dead. She didn’t know any of this. She simply trusted that the God who called her would care for her, regardless of how her life unfolded,” the bishop said.