Today, in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrations are held throughout the Catholic community to honor the “Lady from Heaven” who is credited for a number of miracles. Those celebrations are known as The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
According to Catholic beliefs, in 1531, there was a poor Indian from Tepeyac, an area northwest of Mexico City, named Juan Diego. The “Lady from Heaven” appeared to Diego and told him that she is the mother of the true God, and she asked him to have a bishop build a church on the site where she appeared.
Diego told the bishop about what he saw and about the woman’s request, but the bishop didn’t believe him. The bishop asked for a sign before he would consider construction of a church.
Three days later, the woman, the Virgin Mary de Guadalupe, appeared to Diego again, and asked him to grab roses nearby and put them in his cloak (ayate). He then took the roses to the bishop and when he opened his cloak, the roses fell and an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was imprinted on the inside of the clothing.
Today, the cloak is located at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic Church in northern Mexico City. Millions of people visit the site each year to see the ayate (la tilma), and the area sees more visitors during this time of year.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego the first indigenous North/South American saint, and he declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas.
The day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, December 12th became a national holiday in Mexico in 1859. When people visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, they bring candles and offerings and they sing “Las Mañanitas.”
The Virgin of Guadalupe’s image has become not only a religious image, but a cultural image as well in Mexico. When Miguel Hidalgo launched the Mexican War of Independence, he used the Virgin of Guadalupe’s image. Her image appeared on rebels’ banners, and the rebels’ battle cry was “Long live our Lady of Guadalupe.”
In Denver, celebrations will he held on Dec. 12 in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and what better way to celebrate the religious tradition than at the church that was named after her. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, located at 1209 W. 36th Ave., will be holding a mass at 7 p.m.
A prayer of the Rosary and the Imposition of the Mantle of the Virgin Mary de Guadalupe will follow.
To reach the church for more information, call