The thump of a guitarron and blare of a trumpet filled the pews along with Catholics and non-Catholics alike at Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on Dec. 12, as they do every year on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The religious holiday coincides with the anniversary of the house of worship, and this year they celebrated 100 years in service.
Partly in recognition of the church’s history in the community, the Beverly Hills City Council declared the date of their anniversary “Faith Day.” It is intended to be “a day to pause, reflect and celebrate faith in spirituality, humanity and community,” council members wrote in a proclamation signed Dec. 11, the night before Church of the Good Shepherd’s Centennial Mass.
Good Shepherd is the oldest religious building in the city. Over the years it has served as a hub for charitable work in the community, with a food truck delivering warm meals to the homeless as just one example of their efforts to aid people in need. They also work closely with local faith-based organizations of any religion or denomination to help foster cultural exchange and tolerance.
The Dec. 12 mass commemorated a religious holiday that Catholics believe marks the appearance of the Virgin Mary before a young indigenous man in Mexico named Juan Diego. The Beverly Hills congregation celebrated the occasion with a bilingual service featuring mariachi bands and Aztec dancers decked out in traditional garb.
“That’s one day that we see all denominations, all races, the rich and the poor inside the church to celebrate [the Virgin Mary],” said Michelle Anglade, Good Shepherd’s secretary of the past 40 years and a classically trained violinist who performs with the mariachi bands during the special service. “And if they don’t celebrate her, they want to see what we’re doing and what the Lady of Guadalupe is about. She welcomes everyone.”
All five members of the Beverly Hills City Council were in attendance, as well as Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath. They were joined by hundreds who packed the roughly 500 seats of the historical building who sang, offered flowers to an altar to the Virgin Mary, and exchanged gestures of peace.