RELIGION AND COMMUNITY

Celebrating La Virgen

Celebrating La Virgen
Flower and song: a pageant for the community. Photo by Charles Barry
by Monique Marie DeJong '08 |
SCU and the Sacred Heart Parish commemorate the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a 15-year tradition—and a four-year scholarship.

The sounding of the caracol (conch) echoes through Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Then come drums, singing, and ancient Aztec step dancing. The joyous occasion: La Virgen Del Tepeyac, celebrating the miraculous apparitions of La Virgen de Guadalupe to Juan Diego, a Christian Indian, on the Tepeyac hill in Mexico City in 1531.

This December marked the 15th annual presentation of La Virgen in the Mission Church. The event is a collaboration of the University and Sacred Heart Parish in San Jose. Performed in the flor y canto (flower and song) Nahuatl tradition, the celebration combines narration, costumes, and music.
 

Building bridges

La Virgen in images: See a photo gallery of La Virgen de Guadalupe by Charles Barry.

La Virgen del Tepeyac offers a two-way bridge to the underserved communities beyond SCU, says Ana Maria Pineda, RSM, an associate professor of religious studies who teaches a course on la Virgen. The celebration venerates an icon central to many Latino's lives and identities, offering dignity, unity, strength, and hope.

While a student, María del Socorro Castañeda-Liles ’98 was a member of Sacred Heart Parish. Her devotion to la Virgen inspired her to create a partnership between SCU and Sacred Heart. Parish members joined Pineda’s students the help of Pia Moriarty, then director of Eastside Project (known today as Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning), for the first celebration of la Virgen in the Mission Church in 1997. Since then, Castañeda-Liles has continued her involvement with SCU in another role: She is an assistant professor of religious studies.

Santa Clara alumni are also strong supporters of the event. José A. Cabrales ’00, who serves as president of the Chicano/Latino Alumni Chapter, underscores that the celebration has become an important SCU tradition, binding community and generations.

Preceding the celebration this past December was another tradition: the awarding of the Juan Diego Scholarship. The annual need-based scholarship covers four years of tuition. It recognizes Sacred Heart students who are committed to the parish, youth leadership, and the Latino community. This year the scholarship was presented to Araceli Gutierrez '15, who entered SCU in fall 2011. Fourteen students have received the scholarship over the years, including some who were the first in their families to attend college.

Winter 2014

Table of contents

Features

Rise up, my love

There are the sanctuaries built for worship—and that carry beauty and grace for all to see. Then there are the improvised places of faith, perhaps more subtle in how they speak to the wonder worked there.

The chaplain is in the House

With the way things have gone recently in Congress, looking to the heavens for some help and guidance might seem like a very good idea. In fact, that’s what Pat Conroy, S.J., M.Div. ’83 is there to do.

Welcome to Citizenville

Who published the one book on government in 2013 that conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich told all true believers that they should read? Well, the author is now lieutenant governor of California. Before that, he was mayor of San Francisco. That’s right: It’s Gavin Newsom ’89.

Mission Matters

Goooaal!

Women’s soccer wins the West Coast Conference championship.

Patent trolls, beware

The White House has brought on SCU’s Colleen Chien, a leading expert in patent law, as senior advisor.

A sight of innocence

George Souliotes went to prison for three life sentences after he was convicted of arson and murder. Twenty years later, he’s out—after the Northern California Innocence Project proved he didn’t do it.