Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Americas… And our little bilingual Parish will celebrate in style. The church is decorated with with rosies and the very anglo, fair Mary that usually positions herself near the front of the church has been replaced by Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mass will be be bilingual. There will be a procession and a gathering afterward.
As anyone who reads this (and there are few of you), you know that I’m just not so big into Mary – or at least not traditional RC Marian devotions. But, Guadalupe was probably my first close encounter with the Catholic Church. I was in high school and my Girl Scout troop took a trip to Mexico. I knew some kids who had gone to the Catholic grade school, true. That’s not quite the same as seeing the pilgrims walk on their knees from across the square to the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There were many questions from this group of 25 or so girls from the deep south. We heard the story of Juan Diego (Susan wrote about this on the 9th – Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe); We saw the shroud. And I remember the guide telling us that if the church shared it’s wealth instead of hoarding it, all of Mexico would be devout Catholics (this was 1968).
What a memory. What a trip. What a stop along this journey I’m on. I remember the pilgrims on their knees and being pretty much horrified. I remember the beautiful cloth. I have looked back at the story and come to a place where I can marvel at the power and love of our God: Mary at Guadalupe bridged the gap between the Spanish, male centered church and the female centered religion of the local peoples. This Mary opens the way the Jesus, just as she has done from the beginning.
That is what I take with me from this holy day.