Thousands of Catholics from all over the Coachella Valley are continuing their trek from Palm Springs, all the way to Coachella. Just to put things into perspective, parishioners started their journey at around six this morning and they are expected to be arriving to “Our Lady of Guadalupe” church in Coachella at around 6:00pm. It is roughly a 32 mile trek that many have been undergoing for years, but one lady we spoke to says this is her first time doing it and she has a very special reason behind it.
“It’s like a miracle day,” says Rosalee Perez a devout Catholic from Coachella.
Rosalee was getting visibly emotional while talking about the pilgrimage.
“I get choked up about it.”
This is her first pilgrimage with the Virgen de Guadalupe.”
A trek she has been anxiously awaiting for years.
“I was introduced to this by my dad. He was always with his Virgen Guadalupe, but we never got to do it because he was always working.”
So she never got to be a part of it, until now.
“We forget about our religion and our back history and now, I’m getting older and remembering and it’s like, we should have done this a long time ago. I’ve been hearing people doing it for 5 years, 10 years, it’s like woah.”
The 32 mile trek is supposed to take 12 hours to complete. However, while the journey is long, Rosalee says she is not going to quit.
“It’s hard work because I’m already tired. Sometimes I’m like, ahhh, but I’m okay, I know I can do it.”
The reason behind her motivation is her family.
“I am doing it for my niece and for my daughter, and for my friend has a little baby sick”
For Rosalee this day isn’t just about faith and comradery. For her it’s also about paying dues. Dues that she was granted by Our Lady of Guadalupe for her and her family.”
“My niece, she had a brain tumor. That’s why I’m here.”
You read that right. Her niece had a brain tumor, but now, that tumor isn’t a threat to her life.
“The doctors think she’s going to make it.”
A true miracle that she attributes to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“We all pray. You know, We have that faith.”
At the end of the day, it’s that faith that will help her make it to the end.
“I’m praying, I could do this, I could do this. One step at a time. I’m going to make it to the Coachella church.”
For now, we wait patiently until Rosalee and the thousands of other parishioners arrive, concluding a walk that is certainly one Rosalee will certainly remember.