Our Lady of Guadalupe
In the morning dawn of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian and convert to Christianity, was walking near the hill called Tepeyac when he encountered a woman who introduced herself as Mary, the mother of God. Her appearance was that of a woman from his nahuatl culture; she had olive skin and black hair, and spoke to him in his native language. She was clothed in colors of life and covered with symbols of honor and hope and it was obvious that she was pregnant with new life.
Mary spoke to Juan Diego with respect and affection and gave him a message for the local bishop. She wanted the bishop to construct a church where she would listen and attend to all of the needs of those who came to her.
When Juan Diego delivered the message, the bishop did not believe him and suggested that Juan Diego provide him with a sign that would prove that what he said was true. Juan Diego communicated this to Mary and she instructed him to return the next day so that she might provide him with a sign. That night, however, Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino, fell ill and lay near death most of the night. The next morning, Juan Diego went in search of a priest for his uncle instead of returning to Mary. As he traveled through a different route so as to avoid her, she appeared to him and assured him that his uncle had already been healed. She then instructed Juan Diego retrieve from the top of the hill roses he would find there. Although he knew roses did not bloom there in winter, he believed and did as he was told. He was amazed to see roses in winter and gathered an armful of the flowers into his cloak and brought them to Mary. She blessed them and gave Juan Diego final instructions to give to the bishop. When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the presence of the bishop, an even more amazing sign had been provided. Somehow the image of Mary, just as she looked when she appeared to Juan, filled the cloak or tilma.
The Mother of God brought a bright message, one of hope and compassion. Her appearance was a consolation to the poor, speaking of new life and new hope with the possibility that the two cultures would become one.
La Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos
Parish procession February 8th, 2009 celebrating La Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos!
A small statue of the Immaculate Conception placed in a church in the town of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco (in Mexico) by the first Spanish missionaries during the 16th century has made of that town one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in Mexico. In 1623, through Mary’s intercession, a young girl was brought back to life, and this image of Mary then became known as La Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos.
In recent years, Holy Cross-Immicaulate Heart of Mary Parish, strongly influenced by Mexican popular religiosity celebrates the presence of a replica of this image at Immaculate Heart of Mary by organizing an annual procession on the Sunday closest to February 2 which marks the feast of this image in Mexico and is centered around the Feast of Presentation of the Lord.
To learn more about Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos visit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_San_Juan_de_los_Lagos
Read all about the tradition of Posadas and Christmas at the Parish in the Back of the Yards! Neither cold, nor snow nor darkness could dispel the warmth of the celebrations for the children in this year’s events!