Thousands march for Our Lady of Guadalupe

Organizers say 16,000 walked 32 miles Wednesday from Palm Springs to Coachella

POSTED: 01:06 PM PST Dec 12, 2012    UPDATED: 06:06 PM PST Dec 12, 2012 
Thousands march for hope, to give thanks to Our Lady of Guadalupe
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Thousands of people honored the matriarch of the Catholic faith -- The Virgin of Guadalupe -- on Wednesday, walking the streets to show their faith and appreciation.

According to the Catholic faith, Juan Diego, a recently converted Aztec peasant, had a vision of a young woman who asked him to build a church exactly on the spot where they were standing.

To prove to a local bishop what he saw was real, she told Diego to go to a mountain top, where he found Castillian roses, which could not bloom during the winter. When he returned to the bishop, an imprint of the Virgin Mary appeared on the apron he used to carry them.

Today, Catholics celebrate the vision each year on December 12.

For the Coachella Valley, this is the 10th year residents have participated in a local march, which started at the Our Lady Of Solitude Chruch in Palm Springs and ends in Coachella later in the evening.

The faithful turned out before dawn carrying paintings or images of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

They also took their own personal items to pray for strength, a cure, a miracle.

"[I’m walking] because of my daughter who has cancer, and there's no cure for it,” said mother Anna Silva, “but I believe in her. Very much. That they're going to find a cure."

"My uncle is very ill in Mexico,” says Paulina Rodriguez, ”and I'm doing the walk on his behalf and for his health."

Susana Ramirez said she has never lost faith, and Virgin Mary rewarded her for that.

"I was asking her for the first time, ‘Oh can you please find me a job?’ and she actually got me a job. So I'm really thankful for that,” says Ramirez.

Last year, the march brought together about 16,000 people, and this year they expect about the same.