New York, NY –
It is a holiday popular mostly with Mexican immigrants: the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Since Thursday night pilgrims have been congregating at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Manhattan where the priest is blessing people's icons and rosaries.
The church altar is covered with wave upon wave of flowers.
Monsignor Kevin Nilan says that as the Mexican population has increased in the past 15 years, the devotion has spread rapidly, especially as the virgin is seen as a sign of hope and justice.
NILAN: She represents that downtrodden, marginalized, conquered person. So that over the centuries I think that she filled the role for the ending of one empire and the coming of another.
REPORTER: The holiday marks the Virgin Mary's appearance to Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant, in 1531.
His "vision" restored the faith of Mexican natives who felt their culture, and land, threatened by the Spanish conquest.