Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was more than 500 years ago that the Mother of our Lord appeared to Juan Diego on his way to attend a Mass outside Mexico City. Standing in a radiant cloud, she looked like a beautiful Aztec princess; and in his own language she implored Juan to ask his bishop to build a chapel where she stood.
The bishop didn’t believe Juan’s story at first. Then Our Lady gave Juan a bunch of roses to take to the bishop. Juan put them inside his cape and made the delivery. When he opened his cape, the roses fell to the ground – and the bishop fell to his knees. The roses had left an image on the cape: Mary, as she had appeared to Juan.
Needless to say, the bishop built the chapel; and within a short time, nine million Native Americans became Catholic. It is worth noting that this all took place during a time the indigenous peoples were treated badly by their Spanish conquerors.
This feast day reminds us that Mary and the God who sent her accept all peoples, and has a special heart for the poor and oppressed. We at Cross Catholic Outreach strive to extend that same acceptance and compassion in our work around the world, through ministry partners with the same heart.
One such partner, the Missionaries of Christ the King and Saint Mary of Guadalupe, runs the Tlahuac Girls’ Home in Mexico City, a boarding school for kids who live in the dangerous slum. What better way to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas, than to pray for this and other Latin American ministries doing the Lord’s work?