Renovation of a new shrine is underway at Saint James Parish in Davis. Some Catholic parishioners say this is a loss that they’re mourning.
Davis resident, José Granda, has been a member of this parish for 45 years. He was also the designer of the initial image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in front of the church, and says it took about 60 volunteers to finish it in 1989.
Part of the original image included tiles from Mexico and was blessed in the neighboring country by a bishop.
Now, Granda says, they feel left out. “Nowadays we talk about inclusion. In this case, they did the complete opposite. They excluded the Hispanic people from the shrine – we built the shrine, by the way, it took us three years, all volunteers,” Granda said.
Officials at Saint James Parish tell KCRA 3 that the shrine was decaying. They add that a process was followed to gather parishioners’ opinions. Granda said he wrote letters and even collected signatures before the renovation began.
“Being renovated means that they are going to put it back to the original way that it was. In this case, they chose deliberately to destroy the shrine that was a concentrated place of prayer, and put instead something foreign to the devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he adds.
At the same time, other residents say they are OK with the decision. “People have strong opinions about everything. There’s very little that goes on in Davis, very few actions or anything that happens, so there isn’t a strong — maybe a minority, but still vocal,” said Carl Schwedler, a Davis resident.