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Guadalupe sidebars

The
Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe</a> by Jack Wintz, O.F.M.<br>The best way to understand the meaning of
Guadalupe is to go back to the year 1531 and to those glorious days
of December when Mary revealed herself and God’s love to a simple
Indian peasant: <br><em>December 9, 1531 (Saturday)</em>. Early in the morning, Juan
Diego, a Christian convert, is on his way to attend Mass two and
a half miles away at Tlatelolco, once an Aztec center and the place
where the final battle of the Spanish conquest had taken place just
10 years earlier. Suddenly, Juan hears beautiful music and a woman’s
voice calling him to the top of Tepeyac Hill which he is just passing.
At the top of the hill he sees a radiantly beautiful woman, who
reveals that she is the Virgin Mary and instructs him to go to the
bishop and tell him that a temple should be built in her honor at
the bottom of the hill. <br>Juan Diego goes immediately to Tlatelolco to the palace of Bishop
Juan de Zumárraga, a Franciscan friar. The bishop receives him kindly
but, for the moment, is reluctant to believe Juan Diego’s story.
And so a discouraged Juan Diego goes back to the top of Tepeyac
Hill and admits his failure to the Virgin. The Lady directs him
to go back to the bishop and repeat the request. <br><em>December 10, 1531 (Sunday)</em>. Juan Diego returns to the bishop’s
palace to try again. The bishop asks many questions and tells Juan
Diego that he needs some sign to believe that it is really the heavenly
Lady who has sent him. Juan Diego tells the Virgin of the bishop’s
request, and she promises to fulfill it the next day when he returns
to Tepeyac Hill. <br><em>December 11, 1531 (Monday)</em>. Juan Diego fails to keep his
appointment with the Lady because his uncle has become gravely ill
and Juan must spend the day looking for someone with medical skills.
He fails to find anyone and tells his dying uncle that he will go
to Tlatelolco the next morning and bring a priest who would hear
his confession and prepare him for death. <br><em>December 12, 1531 (Tuesday)</em>. At a very early hour, Juan
Diego is rushing toward Tlatelolco to find a priest for his dying
uncle. Thinking it better not to let the Lady interrupt his mission
of mercy, he tries to avoid her by going around the other side of
Tepeyac Hill. The Lady, however, comes down the hill to meet him.
She listens to Juan Diego’s excuse for not keeping his appointment
and tells him: “Your uncle will not die of this sickness; be assured
that he is healthy.” (That morning, the Lady also appears to his
uncle and cures him.) Juan Diego is greatly relieved. Then the Lady
tells him to go to the top of the hill and gather the flowers he
finds there. He does as she says and discovers a miraculous garden
of roses. He gathers them and takes them to the Lady who arranges
them in his mantle and instructs him to take them to the bishop
as the sign he had requested. <br>When Juan Diego finally arrives before the bishop, he opens his
mantle and lets the roses fall to the floor. But then comes the
greatest sign of all: A beautiful portrait of the Lady appears on
the coarse fabric of the Indian’s mantle. The bishop and his whole
household are filled with amazement. And before long a temple is
built in Mary’s honor. <br><em>Excerpted from “Why Everyone Comes to Guadalupe,” </em>St. Anthony
Messenger<em>, December 1984.</em></em></td></tr></tbody></table><br>&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<table width=”100%” border=”1″><tbody><tr><td height=”61″><a></a><a href=”http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Dec1999/feature2.asp#top”><em></em></a><em><a href=”http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Dec1999/feature2.asp#top”>A
View From the North </a>by Barbara Beckwith
<br>Mexicans and other Latin Americans want to
share their mother with Anglos in the United States. They are very
proud that the pope last January declared Our Lady of Guadalupe
to be patroness of America—North, as well as Central and South America,
and the Caribbean.
<br>The story of the Lady’s appearance at Tepeyac in 1531 is not a
familiar story to most Anglo Americans. But her image is in every
Latin-American house and every house of Latin-American immigrants
to the United States—as common as family photos. She is the symbol
of hope, of God’s presence in their struggles, of God’s hand in
their lives. The fact that she is <em>mestizo</em>—of mixed race—affirms
them as a melting-pot people.
<br>I was in Mexico City recently for an international Catholic press
meeting. Editors and writers for Catholic newspapers and magazines
from Canada, Mexico and the United States came together to consider
the economic, social and cultural consequences of globalization
nearly five years after the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) went into effect. The meeting also drew people from Ecuador,
Trinidad and Switzerland—even an Austrian doctoral student whose
thesis is on NAFTA. Of course, we ended with a Mass at the Shrine
of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on September 26. It was
the high point.
<br><b>Sharing Their Mother</b><br>A couple of those from our meeting tried to explain to me what
Our Lady of Guadalupe means to Mexicans and other Latin Americans.
Edith Garcia is a native Ecuadoran who now lives in the United States
and often writes for <em>La Voz Catolica</em>, the Spanish-language
Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida. Garcia
says that the image of Guadalupe is the preeminent cultural icon
for all Latin Americans. In her work with immigrants, Garcia says
she sees “the Lady of Guadalupe image all around the houses. You
know, having Our Lady of Guadalupe is the main symbol of the Latin
culture.” (<a href=”http://www.americancatholic.org/RAMFiles/Dec1999Feature2_1.ram”>audio</a>)
<br>&nbsp;
<table width=”85%” align=”center” border=”1″><tbody><tr><td height=”207″><br><em><br>Photo
by Barbara Beckwith</em></td><td height=”207″><b>The way the image of Our Lady
of Guadalupe is displayed at the Basilica in Mexico City is
often emulated: in close proximity to a cross.</b></td></tr></tbody></table><br>The shrine itself is different, she thinks, a friendly yet reverent
place: “The Basilica of Guadalupe is a really special place. I’ve
been in so many places and you will not find the mariachis in front
of the cathedral. The mariachis are the Mexican music where people
just like to listen. The first Indians used to have mariachis at
their Masses, but now they keep the mariachis outside and the people
go inside. The Lady of Guadalupe is the main symbol for the Mexicans,
so everybody comes to the Mass with their families on the Sunday;
everybody brings roses because roses are the symbol also of Guadalupe
and the Lady. You will see people walking on their knees doing penitence….They
are really committed to doing that. That’s the way the Mexicans
are paying for all the miracles and favors that the Lady of Guadalupe
is doing for the people. That’s one way to say thank you to the
Lady of Guadalupe.” <a href=”http://www.americancatholic.org/RAMFiles/Dec1999Feature2_2.ram”>(audio)</a><br>Garcia says that Pope John Paul II’s proclaiming Our Lady of Guadalupe
patroness not just of Mexico but of all the whole Church of America
“was a huge event for Mexico but also for us as Latins because we
consider the Lady of Guadalupe our Lady also. When the pope did
that, it was something that nobody would believe.”
<br>It is important for North Americans to have Our Lady of Guadalupe
as our patroness, Comboni Father Arturo Velasquez of Mexico believes.
“The North Americans also share with us several situations of injustice,
poverty, discrimination, and the central message of Our Lady of
Guadalupe goes exactly against injustice, against poverty, in favor
of men and women in our world.”
<br>Mexicans want to share their mother with us because she is so accessible
to them. She hears their ordinary petitions, the small things of
daily life. The Lady of Tepeyac cared about Juan Diego and his uncle,
as well as the generations to come. The morning I was at the Shrine,
there were pilgrims coming from the auto plants in Mexico City and
from religious associations in small Mexican towns. Many alcoholics
begin recovery programs with a visit to the Shrine.
<br><b>Pope’s Intention</b><br>The pope’s proclamation has three purposes:
<ul><li>It emphasizes that all America is one, that our unity and common
problems are more important than our differences.</li></ul><ul><li>It makes us realize that Mary stands with the people. This is
the Mary of the Magnificat, the lowly handmaid who allows God
to do great things through her. Her God scatters the proud, puts
down the mighty from their thrones and exalts the lowly. She turns
the world upside down from one of our making to one with God’s
order instead.</li></ul><ul><li> If we have the same mother, we need to treat all Americans—North,
South, Central, Caribbean—as equal brothers and sisters. And as
the United States becomes more and more Hispanic, this has important
implications. </li></ul><br>The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12, unfortunately,
only four days after our national feast day of the Immaculate Conception
and during the liturgical season of Advent. It will not be easy
to give each aspect of Mary its due attention, especially in non-Latin
communities in the United States. But we would do well to accept
Our Lady of Guadalupe as our mother, the mother who sends us roses
in December.
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