The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of all the American continents, is on December 12th. Our parish celebrates this feast on her feast day, beginning with a celebration of songs dedicated to her, starting at 4:45 a.m. in the Church. Mass is then celebrated at 5 a.m. Mexican bread and Mexican hot chocolate is served afterwards in the parish hall.
At dawn on December 9, 1531, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, Our Blessed Lady appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian (canonized on July 31, 2002, as Saint Juan Diego by Pope John Paul II). While on his way to attend mass, he heard sounds of chirping birds and beautiful music, wondering where it was coming from and its meaning. Then he heard a voice calling him. There, she revealed herself to him as "the Ever Virgin Mother of the True God," and made known her desire that a Shrine be built there to bear witness to her love, her compassion, and her protection. She sent him to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga in Mexico City to request her great desire.
The Bishop dismissed the humble Indian without paying attention to his story. Two more times, Our Lady appeared to Juan, requesting him to deliver the same favor. He did as she asked and finally the Bishop asked for a sign. So, Juan Diego reported this to her and she promised to grant a sign the following morning.
On December 12, while on his way to bring a priest to his dying uncle, Our Lady appeared to him for the fourth time. She assured him of his uncle's recovery and told him to gather fresh roses which he would find growing on the frosty summit of the rocky and barren hill. This done, she arranged the Castilian roses in his tilma (cloak) and hurried him to the Bishop, giving him an account of their origin. This is what is known as "The miracle of the pink roses."
To the Bishop's amazement, when Juan Diego opened up his tilma before him, painted upon it was a beautiful image of Our Lady exactly as she had appeared on Mount Tepeyac. The Bishop prostrated himself in veneration and soon after, began the building of the Shrine on the top of Mount Tepeyac. The Basilica in Mexico City is the most important Shrine to Our Blessed Mother, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe in all the American continents.
Juan Diego's cloak, marvelously preserved, can still be seen behind the main altar in the new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is near the original Basilica site she requested. Millions from all over Mexico and the world, make their way to venerate Our Blessed Mother and to implore her intercession. As she stated to Juan Diego, "Am I not here as your Mother"?
Saint Juan Diego was canonized on July 31, 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
A Triduum (a three-day rosary) is prayed, leading up to Our Lady's feast day. This is held on December 9, 10, 11 at 6:30pm in the Church, where children bring up roses to our Blessed Mother during the rosary mysteries.
The Mañanitas celebration is held December 12 every year, in the Church at 4:45am where we celebrate a serenade to Our Lady. Mass follows at 5am.
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