December 10, 2011. (Romereports.com)
When it comes to religious celebrations, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe ranks high in Latin America, especially in Mexico. Over the years she's been given many endearing titles like “La Morenita,” the “Patroness of the Americas,” and the “Queen of Mexico.” Her feast day is December 12, a day when millions come together to honor 'Our Lady.'Fr. Nicola Tovagliari
Assistant Professor, Regina Apostolorum“We remember the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, in hill of Tepeyac. That's when she introduces herself as the mother of the one true God and the mother of all mankind.”
In Mexico City that very hill now holds the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every year more than 20 million people visit the Basilica. But the story itself goes back to 1531.
During a recent forum at Regina Apostolorum, Father Tovagliari, recounted how Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared before a humble Indigenous man known as Juan Diego. The Virgin asked him for a shrine. The bishop of the area wasn't sure if Juan Diego was telling the truth. So, he asked him for a sign. Fr. Nicola Tovagliari
Assistant Professor, Regina Apostolorum“Our Lady manifests all her love and maternal care with Juan Diego. She tells him 'Don't be afraid. I will protect you. You are in my care, under my cloak.' It's because of this situation, these words that mankind loves Our Lady, especially Latin America.”
Even though it was winter time, when few flowers are in bloom, Our Lady told Juan Diego to go up a hill where he would find colored roses. He picked them and placed them on his cloak. When he met with the bishop once again, the image of “Our Lady” appeared on Juan Diego's cover.
Her image though, was different from the rest. Her skin tone was dark and resembled that of a Mestiza, meaning a mix between Indigenous and Spanish blood. The community saw her as one of 'their own.'Fr. Nicola Tovagliari
Assistant Professor, Regina Apostolorum“We must remember and distinguish that Our Lady of Guadalupe isn't just an image, she is a presence. It's the presence of the Mother of God, close to all of us, her children. This is why she is venerated, as a mother who is alive and present.”
In 1990, during John Paul II trip to Mexico, he declared Indian Juan Diego a blessed. In 2002, he became a saint.
This year, on December 12th Benedict XVI will celebrate a Mass in honor our Lady of Guadalupe. It's here that he is expected to announce his future trips to Mexico and Cuba scheduled for 2012.