The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Province Patroness
December 12, 2021
People in Mexico and in the United States celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. Mary is the Patron Saint of Mexico and Patroness of the Americas. Every year, thousands of people from all over the country make a pilgrimage to the Basilica in Mexico City. The day commemorates her apparition to Juan Diego, a 57 year-old widower, in the hills of Tepeyac in 1531. She asked him to go to the bishop and tell him that the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, sent him to ask for a church to be built atop Tepeyac hill.
The bishop told Juan to have the lady give him a sign. About the same time, Juan’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Juan to try to avoid Our Lady. Nevertheless, the lady found Juan, and assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.
On December 12, when Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground, and the bishop sank to his knees. On the tilma where the roses had been appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac.
Today, as a sign of their devotion to Mary, many pilgrims travel to this site on their knees for many miles. They do this as a sign of their devotion to Mary and to show gratitude for favors received from her.
On the Feast Day, outside of the shrine there are groups of mariachis, folk musicians and ethnic dancers come to celebrate. Inside, priests and bishops from all over Mexico gather to celebrate Mass. In the evening, the entrance of the basilica is filled with pilgrims from different regions of Mexico. Many other fiestas or popular celebrations take place in honor of La Virgen Morena all over Mexico. Almost every household erects an altar to the Virgin Mary for the day and the faithful demonstrate their joy by lighting fireworks throughout their cities.
Mary’s apparition in Mexico to Juan Diego aided the Catholic Church’s effort to bring the Gospel to the Americas. That is why the bishops of the United States affirm: “Mary embraces God’s will and freely chooses to cooperate with God’s grace, thereby fulfilling a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation.” ~ Excerpts of the Saint of the Day and Saint Resource