We celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Tuesday, December 12th. On October 12, 1945, Pope Pius XII, decreed that “Santa Maria, de Guadalupe”(Our Lady of Guadalupe) was the “Patroness of all the Americas.”
Juan Diego, an uneducated Mexican peasant, while on his way to Mass (December 9, 1531) encountered an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Mary appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec Temple. Mary looked like a native Aztec princess. Juan Diego, a convert to Catholicism, was familiar with the Aztec traditions.
Mary asked Juan Diego to tell the Bishop that she wanted a church built on the site so that the Mexican people would have a place to come and request her help. But the Bishop was skeptical and doubted his message.
Mary appeared again and again asked Juan Diego to approach the Bishop. This time the Bishop asked for a sign. Mary instructed Juan Diego to climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill. There he would find flowering roses. He was to pick the roses and keep them in his tilma until he reached the Bishop. For the third time, Juan Diego approached the Bishop. This time Juan Diego opened his tilma and the roses cascaded to the floor. And on his tilma was an image of the Lady.
The symbolism of Our Lady of Guadalupe is easily recognized by the Mexican people. She looks like a native princess. Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition.
Today, we raise our voice to the Virgin Mother of Guadalupe in prayer, asking her to protect the Mexican people. I wonder what her message is to us as we keep our southern neighbors (those who look like her) from entering our country by a wall. Would she approve that we tear apart families and deport immigrants? Would she share the sorrow of so many immigrants who live in fear? Today, we pray for wisdom, asking her forgiveness as Patroness of the Americas.