Over 500 years ago, on a desert hillside in Mexico, an Indian peasant on his way to Mass was graced with Our Lady’s presence. Humbly obeying our Mother’s request, he set out to ask the Bishop to build a church on that very spot. After two failed attempts, he was gifted with her sacred image, one that millions of pilgrims still set out to view . Yesterday we celebrated this Marian feast day, “Santa Maria de Guadalupe”–the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The family dinning table was draped in a dark blue cloth to help us recall the deep blue of the starry mantle of Our Lady with a few ‘roses’ scattered about to help us remember those that St. Juan Diego filled his tilma with after being instructed by Our Lady to gather them from the hillside. (Had I remembered ahead of time, a packet of star confetti sprinkled about would have been a nice touch!)
A blessed Our Lady of Guadalupe candle was lit and placed into the center of the Advent wreath, along with a couple of prayer cards and two Our Lady of Guadalupe medals, as they were gifts to our children this year.
And then it was time to feast! Since St. Juan Diego was an Aztec Indian from Mexico and Mary appeared to him just outside of today’s Mexico City, we enjoyed a Mexican fiesta!
A heaping mound of Mexican rice with an image of St. Juan Diego’s tilma, served as our Tepeyac hill, the hillside in which Mary appeared three times to St. Juan Diego during those December days in 1531.
St. Juan Diego described Mary as being pregnant, clothed with the sun and surrounded by 46 different constellations in the early morning sky. To help symbolize this, we enjoyed jam thumbprint cookies— the coconut radiating as the sun’s rays, with apricot centers for the dwelling of our Lord in his mother, topped with white icing stars to show both the stars of the sky and those on Mary’s mantle. (The stars were a little runny since the children were quite eager to decorate them!)
To wash it all down, we enjoyed a nice hot cup of Champurrado ( a rich chocolaty Mexican beverage made with corn flour, chocolate,milk and cinnamon).
And since St. Juan Diego was instructed to build a church in the very place that Mary appeared to him, our children had a lot of fun creating their own church for Our Lady.
They also had a fun time sharing St. Juan Diego’s sombrero!
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.