Catholics in Diocese Greet Our Lady of Los Lagos
November 8, 2018
ELGIN—The statue of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos visited four parishes in the Rockford Diocese in October: St. Rita of Cascia in Aurora, St. Mary in Sterling; St. Joseph in Elgin, and St. Monica in Carpentersville. 
“The Immaculate Conception has been venerated for many years in Mexico, and the devotion of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, has been spreading out,” said Father Adalberto Sánchez, parochial vicar at St. Rita of Cascia. 
In Elgin, the Sept. 30-Oct. 3 visit was the fourth to St. Joseph Parish. 
During her visit to the diocese, Masses were offered for the sick and for religious education students. Confessions, private prayers and veneration also took place. 
Our Lady of San Juan is the second most popular devotion and image of Our Blessed Mother in Mexico after Our Lady of Guadalupe. 
The statue originally came to the New World with Franciscan friars who used it to help evangelize the natives of the region about the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s universal role in the Catholic faith. 
The small statue is associated with healing of the gravely ill and those with addictions. 
The statue is always accompanied by a priest from the shrine in Mexico.
In Elgin, it was also escorted by traditional Chinelos dancers. The dancers are associated with Mexican Carnival, held four days before Lent.
They wear black velvet costumes with brightly colored accents and a variety of decorations. They cover their faces with elaborate hats and pink-cheeked masks. 
Originating in the Mexican state of Morelos, the dance began in the 16th and 17th centuries, intending to mock Spanish colonists in a playful way. 
The word chinelos is from the Native American Nahuatl word tzineloa, which means shoulder and hip movement.
At first, the dancers only performed during the days before Lent, but their popularity has spread and now they perform on other occasions, such as festivals and weddings.