By Christina Hermoso
Commemorative high masses will be celebrated Wednesday, December 12, at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, in commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the principal patroness of the Philippines, Mexico, and the Americas, and the protector of the unborn.
Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales will officiate mass at 8 a.m. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will lead the high mass at 12 noon while Papal Nuncio Gabriele Giordano Caccia will celebrate the 6:30 p.m. mass
Masses will also be celebrated at 6 a.m., 5 p.m., and at 8 p.m. A procession will be held at 6 p.m.
Novena masses were held from Dec. 3 to 11.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, radiant like the sun, appeared before San Juan Diego, an Indian Christian, on Dec. 9, 1531, at the Tepeyac Hill (now Mexico City) in Mexico. She requested that a church be built on the site of her apparition where she relayed her message of love and compassion and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind.
To convince the unbelieving bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, Our Lady instructed St. Diego to gather roses at the top of the hill on a winter day on December 12 when no flowers were in bloom and to present these to the bishop. As he opened his ‘tilma’ (woven cloth), the image of Our Lady miraculously appeared on it.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe was erected on the site. Today, about 18 to 20 million pilgrims visit the basilica every year, making it one of Christianity’s most visited sanctuaries, to see the cloak which miraculously shows no sign of decay even after 487 years.
Twenty-five Popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe, including Saint John Paul II who, in 1999 during his third visit to the basilica, declared Dec.12 as a Liturgical Holy Day and entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born. In 1935, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Guadalupe as the principal patroness of the Philippines and the missionary of the Blessed Sacrament.
In the country, Our Lady of Guadalupe is venerated as the patron of the unborn, sick, aging, disabled, and others whose lives are threatened. (Christina I. Hermoso)