The 12th diocesan pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe drew a record number of participants on Dec. 2.

Héctor Medina, head of the diocesan Latino ministry, said this year organizers made an effort to count the participants, showing more than 7,600 people involved in the 7.5-mile procession. Later, an overflow crowd filled the Cathedral of Christ the Light, the parish hall and the plaza for Mass.

Catholic scholars say the dark-skinned image of Mary, known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, also has been identified by leaders of the universal Catholic Church as the face of the new evangelization. The story of how Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego, a poor Aztec Indian in 1531 near present-day Mexico City, brought more than 6 million indigenous people into the Catholic faith within a decade.

The Dec. 2 march with floats, dancers in traditional costume and people began at St. Louis Bertrand Church in Oakland, coursed down International Boulevard and along Lake Merritt to the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.