Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Declaration by St John Paul II*
“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…” (Galatians 4:4)…From the standpoint of human history, the fullness of time is a concrete fact. It is the night when the Son of God came into the world in Bethlehem, as foretold by the prophets…”The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). These words…were fulfilled on the night when the Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, entered the world…
“It is something extraordinary: God has entered human history…
“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). Elizabeth’s words to Mary, who is carrying Christ in her womb, can also be applied to the Church on this continent [America]. Blessed are you, Church in America, for you have welcomed the Good News of the Gospel and given birth in faith to numerous peoples! Blessed are you for believing, blessed are you for hoping, blessed are you for loving, because the Lord’s promise will be fulfilled! The heroic missionary efforts and the wonderful evangelization of these five centuries were not in vain. Today we can say that, as a result, the Church in America is the Church of Hope. We need only look at the vigor of her many young people, the exceptional value put on the family, the blossoming of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life and, above all, the deep piety of her peoples…
“However…if the Church in America has many reasons to rejoice, she also faces serious problems and important challenges. Should we be discouraged by all that? Not at all: “Jesus Christ is Lord!” (Philippians 2:11). He has conquered the world and sent his Holy Spirit to make all things new…
“I wish to entrust and offer the future of the continent [of America] to Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church. For this reason, I have the joy now of announcing that I have declared that, on December 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated throughout America with the liturgical rank of feast.
“O Mother! You know the paths followed by the first evangelizers of the New World, from Guanahani Island and Hispaniola to the amazon forests and the Andean peaks, reaching to Tierra del Fuego in the south and to the Great Lakes and mountains of the north. Accompany the Church which is working in the nations of America, so that she may always preach the Gospel and renew her missionary spirit. Encourage all who devote their lives to the cause of Jesus and the spread of his kingdom.
“O gentle Lady of Tepeyac, Mother of Guadalupe! To you, we present this countless multitude of the faithful praying to God in America. You who have penetrated their hearts, visit and comfort the homes, parishes, and dioceses of the whole continent. Grant that Christian families may exemplarily raise their children in the Church’s faith and in love of the Gospel, so that they will be the seed of apostolic vocations. Turn your gaze today upon young people and encourage them to walk with Jesus Christ.
“O Lady and Mother of America! Strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters, so that in all areas of social, professional, cultural and political life they may act in accord with the truth and the new law which Jesus brought to humanity. Look with mercy on the distress of those suffering from hunger, loneliness, rejection or ignorance. Make us recognize them as your favorite children and give us the fervent charity to help them in their needs.
“Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of Peace! Save the nations and peoples of this continent. Teach everyone, political leaders, and citizens, to live in true freedom and to act according to the requirements of justice and respect for human rights, so that peace may thus be established once and for all.
“To you, O Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, belong all the love, honor, glory and endless praise of your American sons and daughters!”
*Adapted and excerpted from the homily of Pope St. John Paul II at the Mass concluding his pastoral visit to Mexico in 1999.
Art for the post on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Declaration: Our Lady of Guadalupe, from various sources (including public domain holy cards) with minor variations, source unidentified. Visitation Detail of Umarmung Maria und Hl. Elisabeth, im Hintergrund Anna [Mary and Holy Elisabeth Hug, (St) Anne in the Background], Jacopo Pontormo, 1528-1529, PD-Worldwide, Wikimedia Commons.