This year our diocese will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. While there will be many celebrations and events during the year, I want to speak specifically about our parish celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast this year. We will celebrate Our Lady’s feast day, Sun, Dec 12, with special devotions at the 11:00am and 1:00pm Mass that day.
You may recall that our Bishop reconsecrated our diocese to Jesus through Our Lady of Guadalupe a few years ago. I had the blessed privilege of attending the Mass at which this happened. It was celebrated by Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio (or pope’s representative) to the United States. This consecration established a special relationship between our diocese and Our Lady of Guadalupe. For this reason, I believe it is important for us to observe her Feast Day.
This is how the devotions will work. Everyone attending the 11am Mass (in English) or the 1pm Mass (in Spanish) on December 12th is invited to bring a rose for our Blessed Mother. After the Post–Communion Prayer at Mass, the priest will invite those who wish to come forward and place their roses before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. After all the roses have been placed, the priest will lead everyone in a Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This final blessing and dismissal will follow.
The roses will remind us of the roses that Our Blessed Mother miraculously provided to St. Juan Diego at the time of the Guadalupe apparition. Recall that, when she first appeared to him, Our Lady sent Juan Diego to tell the bishop about her appearance and her request that a Churchbebuiltonthespotwheresheappeared. Not surprisingly, the bishop asked Juan Diego for a sign.
When Juan Diego told Mary that the bishop wanted a sign, she sent him up the hill– where he found a collection of beautiful roses! That these roses appeared, in December, was one of the first miracles of the apparition. Another was the miraculous healing of Juan Diego’s uncle, who was near death until Mary intervened. Yet another miracle was the appearance of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak. This image has been subjected to numerous investigations and cannot be explained scientifically–to this day!
The final miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe was the sudden conversion of millions of Native Americans in Mexico. Prior to Mary’s appearance, the missionaries were having a tough time making conversions among the natives. But as the story spread, all that changed and literally millions of natives embraced the Catholic Faith.
Mary’s message at Guadalupe is one our world still needs to hear. She said she is the Mother of all peoples. Her words not only spoke of the equality of the natives with their Spanish conquerors, but also of the Truth that we are all called to be brothers and sisters in God’s family, with Jesus as our King and Savior, and His Holy Mother, Mary, as our Queen.
Please remember to pray a Hail Mary to our Mother and Queen for me today and every day, and be assured of my prayers for you.
Have a blessed week!