A joyous procession of prayerful hymns and enthusiastic chanting rang through the tiny residential streets of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island as the sun was about to go behind the central ridge on a late Friday afternoon. It was made up of a mix of some 100 visitors from the mainland and their newfound friends who followed behind framed images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego secured to the back of utility trucks.

“There’s something wonderful about this place — it’s different living here, very laid back,” said Auxiliary Bishop Marc V. Trudeau, who oversees the San Pedro Pastoral Region that includes Avalon. “So when you can get a parade of people with a couple floats and all the colors, people here can’t help but want to know what’s going on.”

The day began just after sunrise with Bishop Trudeau’s blessing of the images as they were loaded onto a small boat, Lotus, in Long Beach, serenaded by a mariachi band and young dancers. The boat needed five hours to cross the 26-mile waterway and deliver the pair of 8-by-4 images. Meanwhile, some 60 pilgrims from nine parishes in the archdiocese made the trip to Avalon in one hour on the Catalina Express.

A 2-mile loop starting and ending on the front steps of St. Catherine of Alexandria Church — past City Hall, up Avalon Canyon Road to the historic Bird Park aviary before circling back — gave way to a cavalcade escorted by local Knights of Columbus and cheered on by young children in colorful costumes.

The trek was just one portion of the dawn-to-dark day of pilgrimage on Oct. 22, marking the first of the images’ several stops around the archdiocese leading up to the 90th annual procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, coinciding this year with the San Gabriel Jubilee Year marking 250 years of Catholicism in Los Angeles. 

As he reflected on the day’s events before the boat trip back home, Bishop Trudeau hoped those taking the trip could realize the pilgrimage was far from finished.

“We’re in such a hurry to get places these days that we don’t always appreciate the process of getting there,” he said. “A pilgrimage is about the process. You don’t stop the pilgrimage when you arrive at the destination. Getting to Catalina wasn’t the pilgrimage. It’s getting back home and continuing that even when you are tired. Looking back on history, it’s wonderful for us to do these small pilgrimages, which are models or snapshots of the larger pilgrimage, which is our lives.”

Full story at Angelus News.

Below is the itinerary for the remaining days left of the 2021 pilgrimage:

Tuesday, October 26 – Wednesday, October 27

St. Gregory the Great Church13935 Telegraph Rd., Whittier

Tuesday, October 26

8:30 a.m. English welcome Mass (opening procession by St. Gregory the Great School students)

9 a.m. English morning rosary group

10 a.m. Spanish prayer workshops 

11 a.m. English and Tagalog Filipino ministry 

12 p.m. Spanish lectors 

1 p.m. English bible study

2 p.m. Matachines dancers 

3 p.m. English Alliance of Two Hearts 

4 p.m. Spanish Divine Mercy/Sacred Heart

5 p.m. Religious Education/RCIA/First Communion

6 p.m. Knights of Columbus 

7 p.m. Bilingual Mass with music and Aztec dancers.

Wednesday, October 27

8:30 a.m. Mass

9 a.m. English morning rosary group 

10 a.m. St. Gregory the Great School students

11 a.m. English and Tagalog Filipino ministry

12 p.m. Spanish Marriage Encounter

1 p.m. Spanish Divine Will meditation 

2 p.m. Spanish Eucharistic ministers and sacristies 

3 p.m. English Alliance of Two Hearts

4 p.m. Spanish prayer group

5 p.m. English Confirmation and youth ministry

6 p.m. Spanish Guadalupe ministry 

7 p.m. Farewell bilingual Mass and procession with Mariachi and Aztec dancers

Thursday, October 28 – Friday, October 29

St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 7215 Newlin Ave., Whittier

Thursday, October 28

5:30 p.m. Spanish Mass with mariachi

7 p.m. First rosary of 46 days of rosaries leading up to Our Lady Guadalupe’s Dec. 12 feast day 

Friday, October 29

8 a.m. English rosary 

8:30 a.m. English Mass

12 p.m. English rosary 

3 p.m. Holy hour

5:30 p.m. Spanish Mass

6 p.m. Spanish rosary with adoration

Saturday, October 30 – Sunday, October 31

Mission Santa Inez, 1760 Mission Dr., Solvang

Saturday, October 30

6 p.m. Welcome procession at the back of the Mission with Aztec dancers and music

7 p.m. Spanish Mass 

8 p.m. Rosary with choir and dancers

Sunday, October 31

8 a.m. English Mass

9:30 a.m. English Mass 

11 a.m. Spanish Mass 

12:30 p.m. Spanish Mass

6 p.m. Rosary with choir and dancers

7 p.m. Aztec dancers outside of the Mission