|Altarista in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe|
For many Catholics the four weeks prior to Christmas are Advent with purple cloths and four advent candles burning. This is the season for preparing for Christ's second coming. Yet, for any Catholic priest or community associated with Mexicans or Mexican Americans it is the time of Guadalupe and Posadas.
The Guadalupe Tradition is a very powerful religious experience for the Mexican people. In some ways it overshadows in terms of popular devotion almost any other event, including Christmas and Easter. Good Friday would most likely be just as important, but certainly not at joyous.
|our young people as Our Lady and Juan Diego|
|The miracle of the tilma|
|A traditional Dance|
Today, in our missions we keep this tradition. At John Paul II, they have been praying the rosary, singing songs and sharing fellowships for nine days prior to the feas,t which is tomorrow, Thursday, December 12. We had a large celebration on Sunday which included Mass, dances, music and lots of food. Thursday morning at 5:30 a.m. we will gather for the morning praises which we where we will sing and pray. Then in the evening we will have the celebration at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Maynardville beginning at 6 p.m..
|Waiting to begin prayer at a home gathering|
To an outsider, the rosary, the image of Guadalupe, and the songs and food may seem strange and could be misunderstood. Yet, this is all about Jesus and the conversation of Mexico to Christianity. It is very inspiring in Grainger County to see 30 - 70 people gathering each night to pray and eat together. Most of these are in people's homes. In Union county we are only doing three nights of rosaries, but we have between 40 - 60 have been attending. This is a huge commitment of time and sacrifice. It is one of faith where we are giving praise to Mary for her role in bringing us our Savior Jesus Christ. Really, it always about Jesus -- for Mary has no meaning or significance without Him. Jesus is our brother, and thus, Mary is our Mother. Yet in Jesus, and only in Jesus, is our Light and Salvation!!!
|Good Food and good friends|
|Come on the journey of faith with us!!|