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    Posted December 14, 2009 by
    Springdale, Arkansas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Being Latino in America

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    8-mile Pilgrimage Honors Lady of Guadalupe


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Repeat iReporter BarbRad had a busy weekend. She covered Wreaths Across America, a benefit project to provide portraits for those who can't afford them, and a massive procession for the Lady of Guadalupe.
    - nsaidi, CNN iReport producer

    Several hundred Latino Catholics in Northwest Arkansas walked over 8 miles from St. Raphael Catholic Church in Springdale, Arkansas, to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus, who, they believe appeared to a Mexican-Aztec peasant named Juan Diego (now sainted) in 1531 in what is now Mexico City.


    The procession was led by Father John Antony of St. Joseph Catholic Church, and included about 100 young people in Aztec costumes and dancing Mexican dances of indigenous peoples.


    Their numbers finally swelled to around 1,000 as the marchers walked the 8-mile pilgrimage.


    They were greeted in Fayetteville by the St. Joseph Aztec dancers, and all attended a festive Mass in honor of Mary's apparition to St. Juan Diego.  Approximately 2,000 people attended the standing-room-only mass.


    Northwest Arkansas has an unusually large percentage of Hispanics.  2007 census-update data show that Springdale is 30% Hispanic and Rogers is 26% Hispanic.

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