Crowd fills Jobing.com Arena on Saturday, thousands more visit tilma relic at Cathedral Sunday.
The largest Catholic celebration of the year in the Phoenix area drew a enthusiastic crowd of 20,000 to Jobing.com Arena, Saturday afternoon. An international array of performers including Alexander Acha, Irish Singer Dana, and Filippa Giordano inspired the crowd with musical tributes to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Speakers included actor Eduardo Verástegui, Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (photo), who told a wildly applauding crowd: We might think of Hispanics in the Church in terms of the mythical phoenix. Nearly 500 years after Our Lady of Guadalupes transformation of this hemisphere, our Hispanic brothers and sisters represent the rebirth of Catholicism in the United States. He added: Our Lady of Guadalupe points us to her son, but she also points us to unity in her son and for Catholics this unity must transcend borders.
In addition to the performances and speeches, those attending also prayed the rosary a prayer to the Virgin Mary in a variety of languages from around the world. At the festival was the only known piece of the tilma or cloak on which the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared in 1531.
The relic was also at the Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude in Phoenix Aug. 9, with thousands coming to venerate what has been called the most important relic in the country. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Native American, St. Juan Diego, in Mexico City in 1531. She left her image on his cloak, and it has become the center of one of the most visited shrines in the world.
Relic of St. Juan Diego’s ‘Tilma’ Coming to Phoenix for Festival in August Festival to Feature Prayer, Lectures and an International Array of Entertainers
One of the rarest and most venerated relics in the United States will be on display in Phoenix at the Guadalupe Festival in August. The relic, which visited Arizona in 2003 and drew more than 20,000 throughout the state has not left the Cathedral in Los Angeles in more than 5 years. It will be on display at the Guadalupe Festival, which will be held on the afternoon of August 8, 2009, at Jobing.com Arena.
In 2003, more than 150,000 people nationwide turned out for events with the relic, which was co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. This piece of the tilma or cloak of Juan Diego is approximately a half-inch square and is the only known relic of the tilma in the United States. “We are grateful to Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles for the loan of this wonderful and historic piece of St. Juan Diego’s tilma,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, “and to Bishop Olmsted, Cardinal Rivera Carrera, and the Guadalupe Institute, for co-sponsoring the event, along with the Knights of Columbus.”
“We know that not everyone in Phoenix can go to Mexico City, but we hope that this event will give those living in Phoenix and the surrounding areas a chance to experience the loving message of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he added. Anderson whose book on Our Lady of Guadalupe comes out earlier that same week will also address the crowd.
In addition to the relic, the event will feature prayers including a living rosary and a talk by Msgr. Eduardo Chavéz, who was postulator of the cause of St. Juan Diego.
The festival will also feature an international cast of performers including Irish singer and former member of the European Parliament Dana Scallon, Rwanda genocide survivor and bestselling author Immaculée Ilibagiza, Native American matechine dancers and mariachi music. Latin film and television star Eduardo Verastegui is also expected to appear as a speaker.
The free event is expected to attract thousands of people, and tickets are available at www.guadalupefestival.org. Those interested in attending are encouraged to order tickets early.
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“Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Native American, St. Juan Diego, in Mexico City in 1531. She left her image on his cloak, and it has become the center of one of the most visited shrines in the world.”