Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 30, 2000
Guadalupe image melts hearts, halts abortions
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
We live in a culture of death, a society filled with material goods. But we can't share and love one another. We, in the northern part of the Americas have all the wealth, but it is those to the south of us, who are richer with all their faith.
"Their faith carries them through their hardship," said Dan Lynch, national guardian of the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. "Up north we have all the money and down south they have all the faith. We have to somehow get together on that."
Lynch, along with painter Charles Prabst, brought the image to St. Basil's Cultural Centre, Oct. 20. After their talk to 300 people, the image was transferred to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church for an all-night vigil, and then to Ephphatha House north of Stony Plain.
The image, a replica of the one in the basilica in Mexico City, was a gift from the Mexican bishops to Catholics in the United States. As guardian, Lynch attends conferences telling the story of the image and miracles that have followed.
Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a simple Aztec man, in 1531. She told him to go to the bishop and request that a church be built on the place where she appeared.
Juan Diego brought roses, provided by Mary, to the bishop. When he dropped them from his tilma, a traditional Aztec cloak, he and the bishop were taken aback when Mary's image appeared on the tilma.
The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, has for centuries been a festive tradition in Latin America. This year it will receive equal recognition in the United States and Canada.
"As she spoke to the Mexicans, she speaks to us today - to the skeptical scientists through her image," Lynch said.
There are signs that are unexplained to modern science, he said, particularly the eyes of the image, which have been examined by leading scientists who could not explain why her eyes seem so life-like and why the reflection of the bishop and Juan Diego in her eyes appear to be three-dimensional and realistic.
"(The signs) are there to help people believe that she's real and she's leading people to her son, Jesus Christ."
The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been slow to catch on in countries north of Mexico, particularly in Canada. Edmonton is only the third Canadian stop Lynch has made. "We've really had no request for it up here," he said. "It's not as well known as it should be.
"She is Queen of the Americas, all of it, that includes Canada."
But Our Lady of Guadalupe is slowly becoming a household name in the U.S. and not just to Hispanic families. Abortion clinics have been closed and doctors converted, all thanks to those who are inspired by the image, said Lynch.
Some call it just an image, but the image, said Lynch, is part of the connection we have with God.
"What does she do? She melts hearts. She softens everything up so that Jesus can have an open door to come in."
This "just an image," said Lynch, was outside an abortion clinic in Florida recently accompanied by a group of pro-lifers praying the rosary. One patient inside said she had a feeling to peep through the blinds where she saw the small crowd and the image. She walked out of the clinic and toward the crowd who comforted her.
Lynch's goal is to help the entire Americas, North and South, to be inspired by Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Angela MacDonald of Sherwood Park has heard the story of Juan Diego and the stories of miracles. She came to find out if an image could inspire such faith.
She placed her hand on the image and stood with her head bowed for several minutes in deep prayer.
"I felt a tingling in my hand, it was warm," she said with emotional teary eyes. "I felt she was here.
"Whenever I see the image, I have a closeness to her. She's bringing a message of hope and love and healing to all people, especially mothers who are distressed."