The twenty year old stood at the base of the image of Juan Diego in Holy Cross Church. He said, “Wow, this is the first time I have seen an image of Juana Diego where they got the tilma right!” He gazed at the cloth hanging around the shoulder of Juan Diego carrying the roses he had gathered from the hill of Tepeyac. He went on to explain the meaning of the tilma and how this was important to him in respecting the traditions of the indigenous people.
As I listened to the young man, Isaias, I was impressed by how much he knew about the traditions of Juan Diego and the people of Mexico. I asked where he learned so much about Juan Diego, and he said his grandfather taught him. In fact, his grandfather taught him the language of “Nawatl” – the language spoken by Juan Diego. And still later, he explained to me that the true meaning of the word “machismo” was rooted in the sense that it was the father’s duty to pass the traditions on to their children. By the time I finished listening to Isaias, I was animated and anxious to begin to prepare a novena and feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
So I asked Isaias if he would spend some time with our people in preparing for the Novena of Guadalupe. I began to imagine members of our Immigration Committee, our Domestic Violence task force, our Youth Council, our catechists, ministers, …any of our leaders taking a little time to listen to and reflect on the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. How might they help make the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe alive for us today? How might they help us pass on the meaning and tradition of the story of Juan Diego and the hope he experienced?
So many of our people live wanting to be accompanied in their suffering, wanting to be listened to as they strive to understand how God acts in their lives, and grateful for the family and community around them. The novena and feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a time when we are called to act as a community, to know one another more and respond in service.
I am inviting those who are interested in helping to plan and prepare the special time together, to a meeting this Tuesday, November 8th, 7 PM in the Hall of Immaculate Heart of Mary. Please consider the questions above and come and join us, and Isaias, as we reflect on the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe today and how we will celebrate the spirit of being a family today.
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF