Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 3, 2007
Our Lady blessed St. Juan Diego with a cloak full of roses
A peasant farmer's love of his gave him the grace to complete his mission for Mary
St. Juan Diego – December 9
By TED FITZGERALD
All are astounded at the image of Our Lady miraculously decorating the humble man's tilma.
The people's faith is not hidden in South Texas. Images of Guadalupe and the city's patron, Anthony, share space on city streets with other religious symbols in San Antonio and the official city centre is identified by a plaque in the floor of San Fernando Cathedral.
Further south, in coastal Corpus Christi, a new memorial honouring Juan Diego overlooks the city from the western outskirts. A local men's group solicited funds and land on which to build a small stone hill where the saint kneels in prayer.
The larger-than-life figure was sculpted by noted area artist Joel Garcia using Arturo Casillas, one of the project organizers, as a model. It was blessed in front of a crowd of several hundred by Bishop Edmond Carmody on Oct. 28, 2006.
It is anticipated that the surroundings will be developed as a prayer garden under the care of the Knights of Columbus.
Back in San Antonio, a much-anticipated re-enactment of the events surrounding the apparitions replaces the Sunday homily at Mass in San Fernando Cathedral in the weeks leading up to the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The abbreviated story of the four appearances of Mary begins when Juan Diego is addressed on the hill of Tepeyac by a wonderful, glowing woman who identifies herself as the "Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God."
At her request, he tries to ask Bishop Zumarraga to build a church there for her. Difficulties in gaining access to the Church leader and with the Nahuatl language used by Our Lady and Juan, frustrates the humble saint.
When the bishop requests a sign that Juan's story is factual, the familiar scene ensues where the saint is told by Our Lady to collect roses miraculously growing on the desolate hilltop, and he carries them back to the bishop wrapped in his tilma.
The great cathedral is silent as all wait breathlessly for the finale of the story. Juan opens his cloak to release a cascade of fresh red roses and all are astounded at the image of Our Lady miraculously decorating the humble man's tilma.
Here, the cathedral audience reacts in a spontaneous roar of applause.
Later, following the celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass ends with the blessing and dismissal.
Then when the celebrant pauses and loudly proclaims the age-old grito (proclamation) "Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe," the response from Our Lady's people is a deafening - "Viva!!"
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