Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Bring Blessed Mother Your Worries, Anxieties, Bishop Senior Says on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Celebrating Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bishop Timothy Senior told the hundreds of faithful who filled San Juan Bautista Church in Lancaster for the celebration that the Blessed Mother continues to relay to her children the message she gave to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

“She says to him words that I believe she wants to say to each one of us: ‘There is nothing to frighten or distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled. Let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not fortunately in my care?’”

A congregation of worshipers filled the church to capacity for the celebration on December 12, a noteworthy feast day for the Hispanic community. A life-size image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – draped in lights and colors of the Mexican flag – was placed near the altar for the faithful to adorn with dozens of bouquets of fresh flowers.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, a poor farmer, on December 12, 1531 in Tepeyac, a hill northwest of Mexico City, and instructed him to have a church built on the site. As a sign of her appearance, she left an imprint of herself on Juan Diego’s cloak, which he presented to the local bishop as proof.

Innumerable miracles and cures have been attributed to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Each year, some 10 million people visit the Basilica built in her honor. In 1999, St. John Paul II entrusted the lives of children, especially the unborn, to her protection. She is the patroness of the Americas and more than a dozen dioceses.

Commemorating her feast, parishioners young and old carried flowers and wore traditional cultural attire to the Mass at San Juan Bautista Parish, which was celebrated in Spanish. Bishop Senior delivered his homily in English, translated into Spanish by Father Luis Rodriguez, pastor. Following the Mass, the congregation engaged in a lively celebration in the parish hall, marked by food, music and dancing as they continued to honor their patron saint and Blessed Mother well into the night.

“Each of us in our own way has come here tonight like Juan Diego, perhaps with distress or distractions or worries in our life. We carry the burdens, and Our Lady wants to reassure us that we need not be afraid or distressed,” Bishop Senior told the congregation. “She gazes upon each one of us with that same endearing love that she called out to Juan Diego.”

“My brothers and sisters, let us receive that gift of her love tonight in a very special way. Bring to her what distresses us, our worries and our anxieties,” he said.

“We rejoice that we have her so close. She is loving us as we gather, so delighted that we her children are here. She says to each of us, ‘Trust me and trust above all in my Son, and carry Him in your heart,” he said.

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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