Catholics across the Diocese of Phoenix have spent the last several days honoring Mary under her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the diocese. It began Dec. 7 at Immaculate Heart of Mary with a procession ending more than half a mile away at the Diocesan Pastoral Center where Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted celebrated Mass.
Processions, prayers, singing and matachines dancing continued at the parish level Dec. 11-12 to mark the official anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s 1531 appearance to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico.
“These are traditional dances that give her honor, and it’s really a way for both the indigenous and non-indigenous to be united under the mantle of Mary,” said Ignacio Rodriguez, associate director of the Office of Ethnic Ministries.
Celebrations mirrored those in Mexico which feature thousands of pilgrims who flock to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe every year in the week leading up to her feast day.
Parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Queen Creek was one of two local parishes with extra reason to celebrate. The 7-year-old parish which draws roughly 2,000 families to one of seven liturgies every weekend is named in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
Our Lady of Guadalupe parishioners marked the feast with a four-day event processing each afternoon at 4 p.m. from one parishioner’s home to another. It will conclude today when parishioners will process roughly three miles to the church for a Mass in English and another in Spanish sandwiching a play of the apparitions. Join in. Dinner follows.
St. Matthew Parish near 19th Avenue and Van Buren Street held among the first Phoenix-area Masses honoring the feast of la virgen on her feast day. Catholics filled the church at midnight. A simple procession, matachines dancers by the school’s first graders and a re-enactment of the Virgin Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego preceded it several hours earlier.
Catholics at St. Jerome Parish near 35th and Peoria avenues gathered at 4:30 a.m. this morning for a presentation of Our Lady’s apparitions. It will be repeated with Mass, a procession and matachines beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Local youth presented the annual Miracle of the Roses pageant in front of the Old Adobe Mission in Old Town Scottsdale Dec. 7. Young dancers and musicians from Ballet Folklorico also performed.
“When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America,” Pope Francis said in his General Audience Dec. 10.
[quote_box_right]Read or listen to Pope Francis’ full message
Life Teen offers further reflection about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the tilma[/quote_box_right]
He described America as a land that welcomes all and is generous with its resources. That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe and of the Church, he said.
“I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness,” Pope Francis said.
Students at several Catholic schools honored Mary under her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, by placing roses at the feet of her image or statue.