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The pilgrimage was held in advance of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is Dec. 12.
The group, mainly comprised of men, began their journey in the morning on forest preserve trails in Lincolnshire. It took four hours to arrive at the shrine. Once they arrived, riders were greeted with crowds and bands. As they passed by the outdoor shrine, many removed their hats, and all placed a rose in a basket for Mary.
In Mexico City, it’s a tradition for groups or clubs to make a pilgrimage to the Guadalupe shrine there on the feast day, which commemorates Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near modern-day Mexico City.
Mary appeared to Juan Diego for the first time at dawn Dec. 9, 1531, and said she wanted a church built in her honor on that hill. He went to the bishop< to share this news, but was put off by the prelate. She appeared again, and Juan Diego — who was called by name by the lady in the apparition — again approached the bishop. The bishop asked for a sign from her and Mary produced enough roses in December to fill Juan Diego’s cloak, or tilma.