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Dec 16, 2009 1:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fifty people run from Red Creek Park to Southampton for the Feast of Guadalupe

Dec 16, 2009 1:59 PM

A religious ritual begun in Mexico in 1531, one that is still observed around the world, was carried out by a small group of Latino men and women in Southampton on Saturday when they ran from Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays to a church in Southampton.

The approximately 50 participants who ran were celebrating the Feast of Guadalupe, which commemorates the day when an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared on Juan Diego’s tunic on the hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City, explained Father Stephen Grozio. Father Grozio runs the Hispanic Apostolate of the South Fork, which is based at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church on Hill Street in Southampton Village.

“It’s a pilgrimage where people walk to Mary,” Father Grozio said, explaining that the run, and many of the other activities held all day Saturday, are meant to show devotion and sacrifice for Jesus’s mother, the Virgin Mary.

The Hispanic Apostolate of the South Fork held Spanish-language services in Greenport, Riverhead, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk, Father Grozio said, and a committee of 20 congregants of the apostolate helped organize the run from Hampton Bays to Southampton.

At around 4 a.m. on Saturday, approximately 400 Catholics made it to mass at Sacred Hearts for the morning songs, Father Grozio said. Later in the day, at approximately 2 p.m., about 50 people made the 10-mile run from Hampton Bays to Southampton. Father Grozio said that the run is now a tradition on the East End, as it has been held annually for at least the past 10 years.

“For the teenagers and young men, this is a good activity,” Father Grozio said. “It’s a good activity for youth to express their devotion.”

Sandra Campohermoso of Southampton noted that many youths make a three-year commitment to participating in the run.

On Sunday, the runners wore white sweatsuits emblazoned with a picture of the Virgin Mary, called Guadalupe in Spanish, under an American and a Mexican flag. One of the runners was dressed as Juan Diego—he wore a canvas tunic with a vividly colored picture of the Virgin Mary surrounded by flowers.

Father Grozio explained that, according to the story, Juan Diego was walking on a hill in Tepeyac when he was visited by Mary, who told Juan to go to a bishop and tell him to build a church where he saw her. Mary also told Juan to bring flowers as proof she had appeared, Father Grozio explained.

When Juan Diego went to see the bishop, he gave him the flowers. The Virgin Mary’s image then appeared on Juan’s tunic.

In Mexico on Saturday, more than one million people made the pilgrimage to the hill in Tepeyac where the Virgin Mary was first seen, explained Father Toribio Gutierrez, a priest from Jalisco, Mexico, who came to Southampton for the holiday.

“This celebration is small, but the devotion is the same,” Father Gutierrez said.

A school bus followed the devotees and, over the length of the hilly course along Montauk Highway, different groups took turns running, getting on the bus for a rest, then off it to continue their journey.

The devotees, followed to their destination by two Southampton Town police cars, took about two hours to complete the run.

“It’s fun, and this is the second year I have done it,” said Telesforo Rojas of Southampton, who is originally from Puebla, Mexico. Mr. Rojas said that the run did not tire him out, and that he has also completed the run in Mexico. “The run is much longer there.”

He said that traditional Mexican food, such as tamales, and a rice-and-milk dish, would be served following prayers held at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

At around 7 p.m., the Catholic devotees had a procession from Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church to Agawam Park during which Aztec dancing was performed.

“It’s a big parade,” Sandra Campohermoso said.

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Editor, can't you please remove the comment by INS? The runners were respecting a lovely tradition, and his comment is ugly, mean, and hurtful.
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Dec 18, 09 2:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Klansmen wear hoods to cover their faces as they want to look frightening, but don't want to be recognized. In actuality, they are mean, small minded bullies and cowards who want to intimidate as it makes themselves feel big, powerful and important. I have family members down south who were, and some who probably are still, members, so I know they type all too well. I am deeply ashamed of them.

The people in this event were sensibly wearing easily recognizable sweatpants and sweatshirts ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Dec 22, 09 12:13 PM
3 members liked this comment
People like faceless and ins have turned these boards into nothing more than a place for them to spew their vile hatred. Faceless is so repugnant that he actually used to use Josef Stalin as his avatar and I believe INS actually defended him. INS is in the habit of making despicable comments and then trying to backtrack and make excuses. Thank you Mr. Shaw for removing his hateful comments.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Dec 22, 09 3:34 PM
3 members liked this comment

You simply gotta' stop, man! Really!

You turn every single 27East article into a g-d damn controversy, bringing in ridiculously inappropriate references that never fail to piss people off.

You never edit yourself. You think that everything that comes into your head is worthy of posting.

Would you PLEASE find some gainful employment for yourself.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Dec 23, 09 10:53 AM
Darn you, INS!

I HATE fruitcake.

Now you've made me REALLY mad.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Dec 26, 09 2:13 PM
I wonder how many were legals?
By Pocholo (13), Westhampton on Dec 25, 09 9:38 AM
its does no matter.your countrie protect us and pay for us everythings haha me bambinos ,me food,church pay my rent...hahaha you gringos have no say in what happen we will keep coming until you are all gone.. this is ours land now .and dares nothin you can do hahahaha
By deme más (3), southampton on Jan 7, 10 1:07 AM