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Men carry a statue of the Virgin Mary out of La Placita Church in Los Angeles' historic core before taking it through the streets of the city to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Saturday. Thousands of people joined the procession, which celebrated the 232nd anniversary of the city's founding.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Florisel Perez, a member of the Resurreccion Mexican folk dance troupe, performs beside a statue of the Virgin Mary at La Placita Church.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Thousands attend Mass at La Placita Church in Los Angeles' historic core before joining a procession taking a statue of the Virgin Mary to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Members of Danza Lupita wait to participate in a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. Thousands joined the procession that celebrated the 232nd anniversary of the city's founding.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Edmundo Cabrera and Christina Morales, members of the Resurreccion Mexican folk dance troupe, prepare to join a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Ruby Saldivar, 8, prepares to participate in a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A young girl prepares to join a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Florisel Perez, a member of the Resurreccion Mexican folk dance troupe, waits to join a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Musicians play traditional South American flutes during a mass that preceded a procession of a statue of the Virgin Mary from La Placita Church in Los Angeles' historic core to the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Queen of Angels Foundation wheel a statue of the Virgin Mary away from La Placita Church in Los Angeles' historic core and parade it down Main Street toward the nearby Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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From La Placita Church to Our Lady of the Angels, a modern revival

by Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times

On Saturday, I was assigned to photograph the Third Annual Grand Marian Procession at La Placita Church in downtown Los Angeles.

Organized by a Catholic devotional society called the Queen of Angels Foundation, the event featured a parade of Catholic faithful wheeling a float, adorned with flowers and a statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, through the streets of L.A. to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

On a warm, sunny afternoon, hundreds of people joined the procession, which traces its roots to the founding of the city 232 years ago, when a small band of settlers held a Mass and cavalcade to honor the Virgin, or Lady of the Angels, to whom they dedicated and named their new outpost.

The settlers came from Mexico, which then was a colony of Spain – and this weekend’s festivities had a distinctly Latino flavor, with participants, dancers and musicians largely reflecting cultures from south of the border.

It struck me that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Latinos now form a majority of the population in the metropolitan pueblo of 21st century Los Angeles, which continues to attract people from all corners of the Earth – and especially Mexico and Central America.

It is fitting that this old tradition is experiencing a modern revival.

1 Comment

  1. September 16, 2013, 9:18 am

    This is an incredible event. A procession involving everything from military color guards to traditional Latino dance troupes, all in celebration of our great city and her protector Our Lady Queen of the Angels. I was so honored to be a part of this day. So few public demonstrations actually look to unite Los Angeles, but this one does. 2013 was the third year of the "Grand Marian Procession," and it continues to grow in popularity. I can't wait for 2014! Information on the Queen of Angels Foundation can be found at http://www.thequeenofangels.com.

    By: afritz3@sbclobal.net

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