The pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego began their annual journey throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on October 22, the feast of St. Pope John Paul II, with a visit to farmworkers in Moorpark.

Father Juan Ochoa, pastor of Christ the King Church in Los Angeles and president of the Commission for Our Lady of Guadalupe, led the procession of the images onto the field at Muranaka Farms. He blessed the farmworkers, recognizing the importance of their work in harvesting vegetables and feeding families in California and across the country, especially in the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“During this unusual year where Covid-19 has changed how we live, work, pray, and socialize, this is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the farm workers,” said Father Ochoa. “These essential workers touch all our lives, wherever we live or whatever we do.

“It is about how we feed our own families, and the whole human family. It is about how we treat those who put food on our table and those who do not have enough food. Fundamentally, food and agriculture are about life: life for the hungry and for all who depend on farmers and farmworkers for what we eat every day.”

St. Joseph School 4th and 6th graders participated in the visit to Muranaka Farms as part of a virtual field trip for the feast of St. John Paul II, who had a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. He canonized St. Juan Diego in 2002 in Mexico City.

“Today’s lesson and visit with the farmworkers intertwines the topics of social studies and social justice, economics and equality, science and faith,” said 6th grade teacher at St. Joseph School Mark Padilla, who also served as a volunteer to transport the images during the pilgrimage.

“I hope that our students will gain an appreciation for those essential workers who are the backbone of our society. This is an important lesson which reaffirms our beliefs as we see the dignity of those who do the difficult work that brings sustenance to our families.”

This is the first visit the pilgrim images have made to a working farm, organized in a partnership with the United Farm Workers of America and Muranaka Farms. About 40 farmworkers, who primarily pick radishes, participated in the celebration.

The pilgrimage, in its 89th year, will hit several parishes throughout the archdiocese in the days leading up to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 6. Visit the calendar for dates and locations.

La Peregrina, a pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, is an exact digital reproduction of the original image in Mexico City’s Basilica, which has been blessed and touched to the original image. The images were gifts to the archdiocese from Monsignor Diego Monroy, then rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City.

The above comes from an Oct. 22 story in the Angelus News.