Our Lady of Guadalupe

virgen de guadalupeThe feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12.

Beginning 9 days before, a novena of prayer is offered to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Times vary – so check a bulletin that week for details.

On December 11 we offer a Vigil Mass (6:00pm in 2012). Following the Mass, a group of parishioners re-enacts the story of the Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St Juan Diego. We also have traditional dancers that perform after the play.

Beginning in 2012, we chose to keep the church open all night. People kept vigil in prayer throughout the night. This past year, we had a rosary at midnight, and musicians followed playing Spanish Marion hymns. The traditional Mañanitas began at 4:00am, concluding with a Mass at 6:00am. Then, there was a closing Mass at 6:00pm with the play and more dancers celebrating this joyous occasion.

Beginning after Mass on December 11, our parish center kitchen is kept very busy. We offer tamales, pozole, a variety of Mexican sweets, coffee and hot chocolate. Any proceeds from these sales are used to purchase any additional items needed for this and other traditional Mexican events.

The Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego

At dawn on December 9, 1531, as Indian convert Juan Diego was passing the foot of Tepeyac Hill, he saw a brilliant light and heard celestial music. Then he heard a feminine voice, and he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing in the midst of a glorious light. She spoke to him in his Indian language, telling him that she was the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of the True God. She told him of her desire that a shrine be built there where she could manifest her love, compassion and protection. She sent him to the Bishop in Mexico to tell him of her wish.

The Bishop was reluctant to believe the Indian’s story. So, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac where she was waiting and told her of his failure. She told him to go back again. The bishop asked for a sign. When Juan reported this to her she promised to grant his petition on the following morning. Juan’s uncle suddenly became ill, so Juan was prevented from returning the following morning. Two days later, on December 12, when he was going to the church to get a priest for his dying uncle, the Blessed Virgin came down the hill to meet him. When he explained why he could not return she said to him: “Do not be afraid of any illness, accident or pain. Your uncle will not die, be sure he is now well.” She then gave him the sign for the bishop. She told him to go to the top of the barren hill, where flowers never bloomed, and to cut the flowers he found and bring them to her. She arranged them in his mantle, telling him to take them to the bishop. When Juan stood before the bishop, he opened his mantle to show him the sign as the flowers cascaded to the floor. To everyone’s astonishment, there appeared the Virgin Mary’s portrait marvelously painted on the coarse fabric of the Indian’s mantle. Early on the same day of December 12 Mary also appeared to Juan’s uncle and restored him to health. As a result of the apparitions of the Virgin, eight million natives were converted to Christianity in the incredibly short span of seven years.

The Bishop did not know the Indians’ language and when he was told that the Virgin called herself Santa Maria Coatlaxopeuh, he thought it sounded like Guadalupe, which was the name of a famous shrine in Spain, and thought that she had chosen the same name for her Mexican shrine. Since, she has been venerated by this title for over four centuries.