Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guadalupe Celebrations

The drama of the Our Lady of Guadalupe at JP II
Sunday and Monday we held celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas.
A little preaching at JPII

For some this may be a new feast, but it is very ancient since the aspiration of "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe" as it is called in Spanish, took place in 1531.  In a nutshell, with a bias towards evangelization, I often tell the story in this manner.   Christianity came to Mexico following the violence of the conquistadors.  The Friars who followed may or may not have participated in this, but many people were forced to convert or be killed.  Yet, Saint Juan Diego was a true Christian and a daily Mass goer.  On his way to church, Our Lady visited him and asked him to build a Church in honor of her Son, Jesus.  The Bishop of Mexico born in Spain did not believe him.  He tried a second time without success.  Another time, Juan Diego went a different route because he wanted to get a priest to cure his sick uncle and did not want to see Mary that day.  She came to him anyway. " Where is my Church?" she asked.  Juan had excuses.  So she had Jesus cure his uncle.  Then told him to pick flowers as proof to the Bishop.  He did has was told.  This time when to Bishop received him, he lowered his "tilma" and roses fell to the floor.  Furthermore on his tilma, which hangs today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, was her image.
The dance of "los viejos" from a troop in Grainger County

It is the image of Our Lady that intrigues me to most.  The Azetcas worshiped the "lights"-- the sun, the moon and the stars as gods.  Mary demonstrates by her appearance that her Son, Jesus Christ, is more powerful than any of these lights.  The Black tie around her waist signifies that she is pregnant with Jesus.  This is why Blessed John Paul II appointed Our Lady of Guadalupe as patron of children, especially the unborn..  She is standing on the moon.  Her Son is more powerful than the moon.  She is standing in front of the sun because her Son is more brilliant than the sun.  She is wrapped in the stars because heaven is openned by her Son.  Her Child Jesus is the LIGHT of the WORLD.  He is the only true God!!!

Now that is a powerful message for a farmer to carry to the Bishop and for a people to understand.  This has lead to the conversation of millions of people and for many centuries has contributed to the strong Catholic faith of the Mexican People.  Blessed John Paul II, who visited the Basilica four times, appointed her patroness of the Americas.  In some ways it is the same message for the people in Eastern Tennessee.  Mary has visited them and told them form a Catholic faith community, develop a Church in honor of her Son. 

I have posted the pictures of the event at Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission on my facebook and will post some more for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta soon.

When you view these pictures, keep in mind that this is the first time for any celebration of Guadalupe in either county.  The leadership, the drama, the decorations, the food and the music were all planned are developed by the local people.  I am so happy about their leadership skills and the faith.  The Lord sure is blessing us here in these Tennessee Hills.
The closing dance at JP II
The Planning Committee for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

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