The Church honors Our Lady of Guadalupe -- “Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization” as Blessed John Paul II declared her in 1999 – on December 12 each year.
Priests and parishioners of Blessed Sacrament observed the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a special celebration on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 10 with 8:30 a.m. Mass, a reenactment of Saint Juan Diego receiving the image of Our Lady on his tilma (woven cloth) and a fiesta in Quinn Hall with doughnuts and breakfast tamales.
Father Killian, parochial vicar, celebrated the bilingual Mass and Father Cregan, pastor, concelebrated. In his homily Father Killian noted that 480 years after Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego in December of 1531, the image of herself that she gave to him on his cloak that is kept in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is still as fresh and vibrant as when it first appeared. Saint Juan Diego was canonized by Blessed John Paul II in 2002.
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows Mary with her hands folded in prayer, and her head bowed in humility, "the indispensable key" to authentic discipleship, Father Killian noted. He added that Mary's motherhood "is for one purpose -- the unity of mankind." Mary herself told Juan Diego, "I am your merciful mother" and the mother "of all mankind."
Following Mass, priests and parishioners formed a line down the center aisle of the church to place roses at the foot of a large framed replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a sign of honor for the Mother of God.
Blessed Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe when he gave his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America in 1999.
As we each respond in our own vocations to the call to the New Evangelization urged by Blessed John Paul II and again by Pope Benedict XVI, we can reflect on Blessed John Paul’s words from Ecclesia in America:
“I therefore invite all the Catholics of America to take an active part in the evangelizing initiatives which the Holy Spirit is stirring in every part of this immense continent, so full of resources and hopes for the future. In a special way, I invite Catholic families to be ‘domestic Churches,’ in which the Christian faith is lived and passed on to the young as a treasure, and where all pray together. If they live up to the ideal which God places before them, Catholic homes will be true centers of evangelization.”
May each of our homes and lives reflect the light of Mary, the first and model disciple, and “the Star of the first and new evangelization.”