December 12, 2019
A happy and most glorious feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas! Today is a particularly joyful feast not only for our Mexican apostolates in Guadalajara and Mexico City but also for our seminary, which is under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They hold a fiesta for their patroness every year, celebrating Mass in her honor, decorating the altar dedicated to her in the seminary chapel with bouquets of roses and other festive flowers and carrying her statue in procession. They also observe the tradition of las mañanitas, a Mexican custom where the faithful serenade Our Lady with songs. Many of our parishes, too, host their own celebrations on this great feast day.
The feast commemorates the apparitions of Our Lady to St. Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican who saw her four times between December 9th and December 12th, 1531 at Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. She appeared as an Aztec lady, and it being near the time of Our Lord’s Nativity, she was with child. She spoke to St. Juan in his native Nahuatl, identifying herself as the Mother of the True God and requesting that a chapel be built in her honor on the hill. When the Bishop requested a sign to prove the verity of the Lady, she gave St. Juan miraculous roses to carry in his tilma to the Bishop – miraculous because they were growing in December and were Castilian roses, not native to Mexico. When St. Juan brought the roses to the Bishop, they fell to the floor and on his tilma was imprinted the beautiful image of Our Lady now venerated at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe precipitated the conversion of millions of the Mexican people. Her appearance included symbols that would have been familiar to the Aztecs and illustrated her identity as the Mother of God and the conqueror of the cruel Aztec religion, infamous for its horrifying practice of human sacrifice. Her appearance also evokes the words of the Book of Revelation, which describes Our Lady as the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” She is honored as the Patroness of the Unborn, and we pray today for an end to the terrible evil of abortion, today’s human sacrifice, and for the conversion of all hearts to the One True God. +
Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun? As the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of spring.
– the Gradual for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe