This coming Monday is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most celebrated apparition of Mary here in the America’s. There is so much about this apparition that is of interest and encouraging for our faith that I hope just in mentioning four aspects of it you may be encouraged to find out more.
First is Juan Diego, the man to whom Mary repeatedly appeared. He is usually described as a common peasant man who converted to Christianity when he was 50 when some of the native Mexican’s were first being converted by Spanish missionaries. It would only be seven years later when Mary would appear to him.
Second, the apparition itself. She first appeared to him on Dec. 9, 1531 and asked him to go to the bishop to tell him to build a shrine for her on the hill where she appeared. The bishop sees Juan Diego but is not convinced. The next day Mary appears to him again and he goes to see the bishop, this time the bishop asks for proof that Mary appeared to him. Then on Dec. 12 Mary will appear to him a third time and told him to take the blooming roses on the hill as proof to the bishop. Gathering the roses in his cloak (tilma) he would take them to the bishop and as he let the roses fall on the ground in front of the bishop Mary’s image appeared on the tilma.
Third, the response to the apparition. Not only did the bishop build the shrine but hundreds of thousands would convert to Christianity in the New World.
Fourth, the tilma with the image of Mary. While the garment is still on display (now sealed behind glass) after over 500 years, the material that it is made of should have degraded and fallen apart after only a few decades. And not only can’t scientists today figure out how the image could have been made on the tilma, but there are also incredible details on it that in themselves can be considered miraculous.
As we light the rose candle on our wreath and celebrate Gaudate Sunday, remembering the apparition of Mary and all connected to it seems like a good way to by joyful.
BEYOND SUNDAY CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
I would like to thank all who have worked on and pledged to the Beyond Sunday Campaign. While our primary solicitations have ended I would ask that if you haven’t made a pledge that you still consider if you can support St. Joseph parish and education throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis in this campaign. We have pledged $599,886 so far which is over 98% of our $610,000 goal. Thank you again for the many ways you support one another in your faith.