Celebrating 100 Years: The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is one of Puerto Vallarta’s most iconic buildings. It is a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists and receives hundreds of visitors each day. What is most notable about this church is its stunning architecture and emblematic crown which tops the main building. The centennial celebration of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe will take place on Wednesday, October 12th with a number of festivities to honor this religious building in the heart of the community, including musical and cultural performances followed by mass.
The celebration of a century will take place at the Los Arcos Amphitheater located on the southern end of the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta’s downtown. It is approximately a 20-minute drive from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta and a 50-minute drive from Villa del Palmar Flamingos.
The amphitheater is framed by the iconic Arches of the Malecón (Los Arcos del Malecón), which are four decorative arches, and behind them, you can admire stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the twinkling lights of Banderas Bay.
The event will not take place at the church since they are expecting attendance to be high and there will not be enough space in the church to accommodate everyone.
The centrally located open-air venue is a place where kids and families regularly go to enjoy free entertainment including concerts, folkloric dance performances, and clown shows.
Starting at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 12th, 2022, everyone will gather at the amphitheater and there will be a mariachi band performing along with pre-Hispanic dancers. Food and drinks will be available for purchase along the Malecon during the entire evening. The entertainment will last for two hours and a special mass will begin at 8:00 pm. During mass, there will be an opportunity to receive Holy Communion. Once mass is finished, there will be a fireworks display to conclude the celebration.
If you would like to attend English mass at this magnificent church on your next visit to Puerto Vallarta, English mass is held at 5:00 pm every Saturday at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe located on Calle Hidalgo 370 in the center of Puerto Vallarta. Bilingual mass in English and Spanish is also held every Sunday at 10:00 am. During both masses you will have the opportunity to participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
If you plan to attend mass during your vacation, remember to pack clothes appropriate for church. Out of respect, please try to dress modestly avoiding low necklines and bare shoulders.
The History of the Church
The foundations of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (also known as the Virgin Mary) were first laid in 1903, however back then it was just a small chapel. In 1915, the chapel was demolished and Father Francisco Ayala established plans to strengthen the foundations and build a larger church. While construction of the new structure was not complete, the first mass was held on October 12th, 1921.
Construction was later halted by the Cristero War from 1926 and 1929. In 1930, the work resumed and construction of the building continued until 1940. Since then, the original building has undergone changes with the addition of the main tower in 1952 and its spectacular baroque-style crown was placed on top of the tower in 1956. However, the original crown is not the one you see today. The original crown was damaged during a severe earthquake with a magnitude of 8 on October 9th,1995 and a temporary fiberglass one was put in its place. Finally, the church received its new crown, based on the original design, on October 12th, 2009. The crown was sculpted using cemented rock and includes a series of symbols with religious meaning, such as the 8 angels.
Inside the church, you will find beautiful artworks and a marble altar with the image of Mexico’s patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Puerto Vallarta during the first twelve days of December, you will definitely want to go to witness the processions that happen on Calle Juarez street (in front of the church) every evening starting at 6:00 pm. There you can see a parade of beautiful floats dedicated to the Virgin, pre-Hispanic and folkloric dancers, and mariachi. Food and drinks are also available for purchase in the plaza close to the church. During this festival, people from all over make a pilgrimage to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to honor her and express gratitude for the blessings she has given them throughout the year.
Whenever you plan to travel next to your home away from home, make sure you include a visit to this stunning church, which can be combined with a day strolling the Malecon and trying to locate all of its unique statues, shopping downtown, and sampling delicious local cuisine.