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Many American cities join in the festivities

Pilgrims arrive by the thousands, many of them by bicycle and make their way to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City on the eve of the feast. Among them, dancers, musicians, singers and other performers come to offer their performances in honor of La Virgen Morena (the dark Virgin).

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - One of Mexico's most beloved celebrations, the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, is finding its way to churches and communities across United States.

As the patron of Mexico, the faithful from all over the nation begin to arrive on the day before the celebration at the Basilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, home of the miraculous image of La Virgin Morena (the dark Virgin).

Pilgrims arrive by the thousands, many of them by bicycle and make their way into the atrium of the Basilica. Among them, dancers, musicians, singers and other performers come to offer their performances in honor of La Morenita.

At night a Mass is offered in the Basilica and the festivities continue through the night until the next day including lots of fireworks. Fiestas like this are actually held in places all over the country in honor of their Patroness - Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Parades and fiestas are also taking place in U.S. cities. Rocco Palma, on his blogsite Whispers in the Loggia, has placed video reports from such diverse locations as New York; Bridgeport, CT; Atlanta, San Francisco; Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego changed the history of Mexico and has made a long-term impact throughout the Americas.

On December 9, 1531, Diego, an Aztec convert to Catholicism, was walking to Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception when a woman appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill.

She identified herself as the "ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God," speaking in the Aztec dialect.

"I am your compassionate Mother," she went on to say, "yours and that of all the people that live together in this land and also of all the other various lineages of men."

He was told to pass on a request to his local bishop that a house dedicated to her Son be constructed on the site of a former pagan temple. This house would be used to exalt him to the people of Mexico and allow him to be exalted throughout the world.

"I want very much that they build my sacred little house here" - a house dedicated to her son Jesus Christ, on the site of a former pagan temple, that would "show Him" to all Mexicans and "exalt Him" throughout the world.

The new convert met with Bishop Juan de Zumárraga who received the message with skepticism and said he needed a sign, proof that this message was real.

Diego's uncle was dying and needed attention. On December 12 he was on his way to the church, this time to ask the priest to come and give his uncle last rites.

The woman again appeared to him. She assured him that his uncle would be healed and told him that she would give him a sign for the bishop. He would find roses and other flowers on Tepeyac hill even though it was winter. He brought the flowers to the Virgin Mary who told him to put them in his tilma - a winter outer garment . She told him not to unfold the tilma with the flowers until he was with the bishop.

Bishop Zumárraga was astounded as the tilma was unwrapped and the image of the Virgin Mary, just as Diego has met her on the hill, was imprinted on the tilma.

The tilma, now located at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, is one of the most visited Catholic Shrines in the world. St. Juan Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.


Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online ( He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.

Keywords: our lady of guadalupe, mexico, juan diego, feast


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1 - 5 of 5 Comments

  1. Chela
    3 years ago

    I´m Mexican and used to live near the Basílica de Guadalupe. Here are some little-known facts you might find interesting: There´s a whole library, mostly about Our Lady of Guadalupe, on one of the floors inside the huge central column that holds the massive structure of the building. (anyone can visit it. I have done so several times)
    Only a few people, including Pope John Paul II, have been allowed to see the image of the Virgin without the protective glass (which is bullet-proof). To be able to do so, they take an elevator inside the column, and a heavy door which is like the ones in bank vaults,is opened, and the image rotated so it can be seen from a room which is behind it.
    A new project called "Plaza Mariana" has just been completed at the atrium,(just google it) and the vendors have been relocated. (Never buy anything from people on the streets, as this only creates more problems such as garbage. Buy souvenirs inside the temple at the small shop, or from the other authorized shops. I recommend buying from the Hermanas Paulinas shop in the basement corridor under the atrium, to support their congregation
    If you visit the Basílica, take the time to climb to the church on top of Tepeyac hill, built at the site of one of the aparitions. It has beautiful murals. Check out the little angels: some have brown skin like the Aztecs, and some look European.

  2. Mary
    4 years ago

    I had the privilage to visit Our Most Holy Mother of Guadalupe in 2007 in Mexico City. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I hope that all the faithful had the privilage to visit Our Lady some time in their lives.... Jesus, Mary, and Joseph...pray for us

  3. vance
    4 years ago

    This is a miracle that keeps on giving. The Tilma is miraculous in so many ways.

  4. MrCee2
    4 years ago

    Truly moving and beautiful. I pray to Holy Mother that she continue to love us, her wayward children, until the time that her honored Son comes again to bring us all home.


  5. Johnny
    4 years ago

    "I am your compassionate Mother" I thank mother Mary for all her gentle love for us.Fr.Michael talked on this today in his homily along with advent.A beautiful day today.

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