On Sunday, May 3, Fr. Javier Bustos S.T.D., Vicar General for Hispanic Ministry and pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, and Fr. Mauricio Fernandez, pastor administrator of St. Adalbert Parish, will lead a Marian procession reminiscent of ancient Rome to pray for the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Near the end of the sixth century, a severe plague ravaged Rome. St. Gregory the Great organized a massive procession around the city, inviting everyone to pray the plague would be lifted.

Tradition holds that the newly elected pope asked for an image of the Blessed Mother and as they processed, the poisonous air was cleansed by her presence. Voices of angels were heard singing the Regina Coeli. The pope saw angels singing atop the Mausoleum, now known as the Castel Saint Angelo, and the plague ended.

Fathers Bustos and Fernandez will begin the procession by pick-up truck on Milwaukee’s south side at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. They will drive to South 43rd Street, north to National Avenue and south to Layton Avenue. The truck will hold the blessed image of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, the second most venerated Mexican Marian devotion after Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“People can participate by following the live-streamed Rosary, Regina Coeli and blessing of the roads, homes, businesses via Facebook,” said Fr. Bustos. “We will be connected with parish Facebook pages and as people follow, they will be able to see the Image of the Virgin when we pass in front of their homes. We will pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother for an end of the pandemic. We are asking every Catholic to join us in praying and ask everyone to place a white flag in front of their homes as a sign of unity in prayer.”

While the prayers will be in Spanish, Fr. Bustos invites all to join in prayer in the language of their preference.

More information on the procession, as well as other Marian prayers and activities can be found on the Spanish version of the Courageous Communion initiative, Comunión con valor, launched by the John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization to support Catholics during the COVID-19 quarantine. As May is traditionally the month to honor Mary, Eva Diaz, director of Hispanic Ministry, encourages families to visit the site and reclaim home prayer and faith practices and strengthen the domestic church.

“Along with Marian prayers and devotions like the rosary, we have included a May Crowning ritual for families to celebrate at home and a guide for 31 days of prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary that calls for a personal offering or ‘flower’ of prayer or commitment to be made each day, which collectively becomes a spiritual bouquet,” she said.