Today I was invited to my first novena to celebrate the virgen del guadalupe – the patron virgin of México. It was a stellar evening with prayers, songs, and more songs. My friend Juan and his father, Gaspar, regularly sing at novenas and are in high demand. I can see why – their sound is somewhat akin to 80s lounge music (and I say this in the most respectful way) and just FUNKS up the novena. I think this celebration is probably more hip than, say, the novena for St. Judas Tadeo (yes, the apostle with the flame and my favorite saint – since he’s the patron of lost and impossible causes). After the novena, we are served plates of prepared food. Then a serenata begins with about 5 songs sung directly to the statue of the virgen. AWESOME. My favorite part was watching Evelyn Desiré, a young girl of about 12, really groove to the music and sing her heart out. I wanted to wrap her up and take her home! Instead, I gave her all my dessert. Now that’s the way Catholic life should be! And anyone who knows me knows that I am restraining myself from sharing the million altar photographs I have. Lucky you!