Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with the venerated image enshrined within the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The basilica is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Next week, Pope Francis plans to visit Mexico City. As part of this papal visit, the Pope will give the homily during a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Preceding his visit, Pope Francis has asked to spend some time alone to pray before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated in December, Pope Francis said, "I beg her to guide the footsteps of the American people, a pilgrim people looking for the Mother of mercy, and ask her to reveal to us her Son, Jesus,” according to the Catholic News Agency.
In the year 1531, Mary appeared before Juan Diego, a poor Aztec Indian peasant, on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. Clothed like an Aztec princess, Mary spoke to Juan in his native language and called him by name. She told him that she had a special task for him and instructed him to tell the bishop that she wanted a shrine to be built in that very spot. She wanted to show her “love, compassion, help, and protection” for all the people.
Juan Diego thought that the bishop would doubt such a request from a poor man like him, but he did as Mary asked. The bishop did not believe Juan Diego at first and instead asked for a sign. In response to the bishop’s request, Mary had Juan Diego fill his rough cloak, or tilma, with roses. Since it was December, it was amazing that these roses were blooming! Juan Diego presented the roses to the bishop. There, imprinted on the tilma, was the image of Mary as she had last appeared.
Pray along with Pope Francis as he visits the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ask Our Lady of Guadalupe for her help and intercession with a prayer that reminds us of the love, compassion, and respect Mary showed when she appeared before Saint Juan Diego in Mexico during the year 1531. Download the Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe to share with the students and families in your religious education program. Available in English and Spanish.