Monday, May 19, 2008

May 20th: Mexico - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast Day: December 12th

A shrine of the Blessed Virgin in central Mexico, suburb of Mexico City. One of the principal shrines of Christendom. Scene of the apparition of Our Lady, in December 1531, to a native Aztec peasant, fifty-one-year-old Juan Diego. He and his wife had been recent converts to Christianity. Mary appeared on a hillside near the Aztec shrine of Tepeyac and told Juan that she wanted a church built there. When Bishop Zumarraga demanded a sign, Juan was directed by Mary to pick some roses (not in bloom then), which he took to the bishop and found that his cloak had miraculously painted on it a portrait of the Mother of God. Although the material is a coarse fabric made of cactus fiber and totally unsuitable for such painting, the portrait has remained as brilliant as ever and is the principal object of veneration at Guadalupe. The shrine church, originally dedicated in 1709, is annually visited by several million, and numerous miracles are reported to have been worked there. A new basilica was consecrated at the shrine in 1976. The central message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, expressed in the first of her five apparitions, is preserved in an ancient document. Speaking to Juan Diego, Mary says, "You must know, and be very certain in your heart, my son, that I am truly the eternal Virgin, holy Mother of the True God, through whose favor we live, the Creator, Lord of heaven and the Lord of the earth." Pope John Paul II on January 27, 1979, opened at Guadalupe the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate. St. Pius X in 1910 designated Our Lady of Guadalupe patroness of Latin America, and Pope Pius XII in 1945 declared her patroness of the Americas. Her feast is on December 12, and a holy day of obligation in Mexico. (Fr. John A. Hardon)

Ann Ball has written an article about Our Lady of Guadalupe for the There's Something About Mary series at Holy Spirit International. You can also read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Our Lady of Guadalupe and find a number of links at the Patron Saint Index.

Mary M has already done all the work for me in this post on Our Lady of Guadalupe for the collaborative Advent and Christmas blog, O Night Divine. I am simply going to direct you there rather than try to reinvent the wheel. One small craft to add is this one posted by Alice at Cottage Blessings - a wreath for Our Lady of Guadalupe made by her daughter.
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

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