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 (http://virginia.catholic.org). 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.
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading
By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News
Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading