Special celebrations for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe have been announced for Lewiston, Cherryfield, and Portland this weekend.

“The Latino community venerates her in a special way, especially as she is the Patroness of Mexico,” said Fr. Michael Sevigny, OFM Cap., the director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Portland.

Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the “Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas” by Pope Pius XII in the 1940s. In 1531, the apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian, in the hill of Tepeyac outside Mexico City. She asked him to tell the Bishop of Mexico City to build a church on the hill to assist in the conversion of the nation and to be a source of consolation for those in need. Roses appeared on the hill in the middle of the winter and were arranged by Our Lady on Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak. A miraculous image of Our Lady also imprinted itself on the tilma. When he observed the tilma, the bishop fell to his knees and believed the message. Each year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City for the feast day, which is actually on December 12. Here are the details for the three Maine celebrations to which all are welcome to attend:

Prince of Peace Parish will host an Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10. The celebration will begin with the praying of the Rosary at 11:30 a.m. at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, located on 122 Ash Street in Lewiston. A bilingual Mass (English/Spanish), celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley, will follow at 12:15 p.m. and feature a procession with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, flowers, and candles. A special gathering with dances, food, and fun activities for the whole family will be held in the hall of the basilica following the Mass.

An Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration will be held at St. Michael Church, located on 51 Elm Street in Cherryfield, on Sunday, Dec. 11. During the 10:30 a.m. Mass, a procession of children will lead to Our Lady at the front of the church where they will lay flowers at her feet. At the end of Mass, a concert of traditional songs to Our Lady will be sung followed by a potluck lunch in the church hall.

A celebration will be held at Sacred Heart Church, located on 65 Mellen Street in Portland, on Sunday, Dec. 11. After a 1 p.m. Mass in Spanish, a procession with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be held.

Funded largely by the annual Catholic Appeal, the Office of Hispanic Ministry assists the Hispanic community living and working in Maine by offering sacramental preparation, including marriage and baptismal preparation; faith formation for adults and children; education on social service support in the state; and help to individuals and families in becoming more involved in parish life. If you or someone you know might benefit from the services of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, please contact Fr. Sevigny at 347-752-3700, José Lopéz at 207-653-5609, Rosario Starratt at 207-312-4716, Sister Elsa at 207-618-2156, or Sister Miriam at 207-838-1584. You can also visit the office’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MaineHispanicCatholics).