Last Updated:Saturday - 12/11/2010
June 5, 2000
Guadalupe at the centre of Americas
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Because the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma in the presence of the Archbishop of Mexico and 22 other witnesses, the Church has always accepted the apparitions of Guadalupe.
Since 1531, 25 of the 45 popes have made pronouncements on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Pope Pius XII pronounced her the empress of all the Americas, Pope John XXIII invoked Mary as mother of the Americas and heavenly missionary of the New World and Pope John Paul II called her mother of America and star of the new evangelization.
In Mary's messages to Blessed Juan Diego, she said, "I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land."
In North America, Our Lady of Guadalupe is still viewed as somehow "belonging" only to the Mexican nation when in reality she came for all of the peoples of America. Her influence and presence must therefore surpass the boundaries of Mexico.
For it was at the midpoint of the Americas that Our Lady came in 1531, leaving behind this miraculous image for all the world to see. From that midpoint, she will "visit" the whole of the continent.
Pope John Paul has written some beautiful words about the ongoing miracle of Guadalupe. In 1981 he prophesied that from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, "the light of the Gospel of Christ will shine out over the whole world by means of the miraculous image of his mother."
In 1996, from Venezuela, the pope invited Our Lady of Guadalupe to make her presence known to the whole of the continent. "I ask her to visit as pilgrim of faith each and every diocese, parish and family in America, repeating to her children what she said at Cana, 'Do whatever he tells you.' May she cross this continent bringing it life, sweetness and hope.
"May she enliven and protect the work of the new evangelization, so that Christians may live their faith with consistency and fervor, and that those who have abandoned it may return. May she promote the unity of the Church, reuniting as in a new Pentecost those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who need to be renewed by the Spirit."
Then in his 1999 exhortation, The Church in America, the Holy Father continued: "Because Mary of Guadalupe had a decisive effect on evangelization in America five centuries ago, she is once again invoked to guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early Church, so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life."
Consequently, Mary of Guadalupe is invoked as "patroness of all America and star of the first and new evangelization" and is "venerated as queen of all America."
For the Church to yield much good fruit in the work of the new evangelization, she must invoke Our Lady's help. As we see the need for a rise in vocations, as we try to establish adoration in our parishes, as we try to impart the faith to our children, let us not hesitate to trust in the help of Mary.
St. John Bosco wrote, "Trust in Mary and expect miracles." Mother Teresa wrote, "Give Jesus a hand. Ask Mary for help."
And Pope John Paul writes, "I entrust this responsibility of the whole Church to the maternal intercession of Mary, mother of the Redeemer. She, the mother of fairest love, will be for Christians of the third millennium the star which safely guides their steps to the Lord."
If the Holy Father entrusts the whole Church to Mary's care let us follow his example. On this continent, let us offer unceasing prayer, asking the mother of America, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to pray for us. Let us give her a place of honour in our homes and parishes.
Let us not only call Mary our mother but let us come to her as children with all our needs and wants. She is the mother of the Redeemer, given to each one of us personally by Christ himself. She is to be trusted.
(Fourth in a series)
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