Graciela Beltran: ‘Our faith is what keeps you strong’

DEVOUT --- Graciela Beltran is a devout Catholic who is aware that the only way to survive the turmoils in life is by “hanging on to your faith.” She was the main performer during the Dec. 11 celebration and Midnight Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. — VICTOR ALEMAN

This is in gratitude to what has happened in our lives this year that is about to end,” said Mexican singer Graciela Beltran, walking quickly through an ambulatory of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, followed by her entourage.

Only one hour was left to rehearse and rest before performing at the first midnight celebration and Mass in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Dec. 11.

Beltran is no stranger to such events. During 25 years as a singer in the regional mexicano (Mexican Regional) genre, she has performed on several occasions at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City during the virgin’s feast day, Dec. 12, together with other renowned Mexican interpreters.

Only a few times, she said, has she missed a celebration for the Virgin. She tries to adjust her schedule to make sure she is celebrating the Blessed Mother wherever she is invited. This was her second time at the Cathedral, having performed previously a few years after it was opened.

But Dec. 11, 2012 was very special to her because she would be the main performer during this celebration prior to Midnight Mass.

“I feel very thrilled; the tears are here in my throat, but I have to be careful because then I won’t be able to sing,” she smiled. “I feel very emotional because this helps recount memories of so many things, but it’s also nice because it offers an opportunity to strengthen your faith in this sacred moment.”

Her mother instilled in her six children the Catholic faith and love for God, “who is the main one in anything,” said Beltran, the youngest of the six. “I also believe in archangels, who are beings of light.

“Everything that comes from God is pure, good and it means salvation, and I know the Virgin of Guadalupe is someone who works directly with our Father God. She gives us that trust and inspires this beautiful faith in us.”

Her faith has kept her through thick and thin, she declared. “I didn’t know what I was getting into and my mom either,” she smiled, recalling her singing career that started when she was six. “Our faith is what keeps you strong, standing and moving forward despite what happens in your surroundings, especially the unpleasant events, and helps us keep fulfilling dreams and goals.”

In 2009 she went through a difficult time in her career when she had a fight (mostly fueled by Spanish media outlets) with another singer in her same genre, Jenni Rivera, who recently lost her life in a plane crash in Mexico.

“I want to thank her for the lessons I learned,” Beltran said quietly. “And particularly I want to ask for peace to the persons who died in that jet together with Jenni Rivera.”

Pedro Rivera, the head of the so-called Clan Rivera, was Beltran’s producer in the initial stages of her singing career.

She said she was deeply affected. “It is a terrible way to die, very sad. I still can’t believe it. It must be terrible for her mother, her father and her children and for the families of the rest of the people on the plane. I think of her mom because my mom went through something similar. I think about her younger boy.”

One of Beltran’s brothers was kidnapped (his body was never found) several years ago, and her mother never has recovered from the tragic event, she said. Her brother-in-law was killed and with other members of her family Beltran witnessed the killing of her stepfather when she was nine years old.
“It is valid to be grateful even for our setbacks and tribulations, which make us grow and mature and value what we have,” said the singer referred to by her fans as “Reina del Pueblo” (Queen of the People), or “Reina de la Banda.”

“The Virgin of Guadalupe keeps us united; she helps us keep our culture and traditions, which are very important. She is like a safe haven where one can cry and feel protected.”

In between the two songs she performed in front of the packed Cathedral, Beltran stopped for a few minutes to pray in front of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe placed next to the altar.

“I pray for immigrants, for all those people who cross the border seeking for a better life. Virgin of Guadalupe, help them fulfill their dreams.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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