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Spirit Daily ^ | December 12, 2003 | Mike Brown

Posted on 12/13/2003 5:30:02 AM PST by NYer

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Virgin of Guadalupe -- whose feast is celebrated today (December 12) -- is growing in popularity not only among Catholics, but among Protestant denominations.

"In some Catholic parishes it's a bigger day than Christmas or Easter: the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe," says the newspaper. "Beginning well before dawn, worshipers today will gather to celebrate the brown-skinned mother of Jesus who, legend says, appeared before a poor Mexican peasant in 1531.

"But the celebration isn't just for Catholics anymore. Increasingly, the pregnant Virgen de Guadalupe is turning up in other Latino-dominated churches as a way to make worshipers feel at home while honoring the mother of Christ and champion of the downtrodden."

The paper quoted a priest, Father Francisco Schulte, a scholar at St. John's University in Minnesota, as saying that any church wanting to attract Latinos "that doesn't take into account how deeply that message [of Our Lady of Guadalupe] is rooted in the Latino identity … is pretty well doomed."

The Virgin of Guadalupe -- who converted millions of pagan Aztecs back in the 16th century -- is now finding her way into denominations that once denounced such devotion. "The trend is particularly noticeable at Episcopal and Lutheran churches, whose liturgical traditions are closest to Catholicism," says the Times. "Parishioners at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in National City, south of San Diego, will gather this evening to sing and bring roses for Our Lady of Guadalupe. During the service, eight children will have their first communion. 'Mexicans identify with her because she looks like them,' said the Rev. Patricia Andrews-Callori, rector of the parish. 'She's been a consolidating force for Mexicans.'"

While not all Mexicans are Catholic (about ten percent are in other denominations), all of them, note scholars, are guadalupano. "So to connect with Latino congregants, especially Mexicans who've strayed from the Catholic Church, Protestant leaders find themselves grappling with what to do with her," says the newspaper.

Of all places, in Berkeley, students at a major West Coast seminary for Episcopalians, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, honored her Thursday evening with a service that mixed Catholic readings into the standard liturgy. The same was done elsewhere. "Some people don't understand it because these things are Catholic," said Margarita Farias, a 33-year-old parishioner and mother of two who lives in San Clemente. "But I felt that [the Virgin of Guadalupe] is the mother of us all. I feel we can have her, celebrate her and be a part of this church too."

In converting the Aztecs, Mary turned them away from their devotion to the Aztec mother-goddess, Tonantzin. Her appearances there took place, ironically, around the time that Martin Luther split the Church. Concludes the Times: "Our Lady of Guadalupe's appearance in non-Catholic services has scholars and others wondering whether the beloved apparition that has united Mexicans for nearly five centuries can bring together Christian denominations.

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; devotion; episcopal; guadalupe; lutheran; protestant; virgin
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To: NYer; All
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day


December 12, 2006
Our Lady of Guadalupe

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the sixteenth century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.

A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.


Mary's appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary and the God who sent her accept all peoples. In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for Native Americans. While a number of them had converted before this incident, they now came in droves. According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. In these days when we hear so much about God's preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God's love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.


Mary to Juan Diego: “My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth...and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me...” (from an ancient chronicle).

41 posted on 12/12/2006 9:55:56 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

Protestant denominations. Oh. That might be the problem.

42 posted on 07/18/2008 11:14:18 PM PDT by John Leland 1789
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