Faithful invited to meet Mary on pilgrimage
Archbishop to lead journey to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City
by Nissa LaPoint
When: Aug. 29 - Sept. 3
This August, Catholics in Denver are invited to join their shepherd and feel the loving presence and tender care of their mother in heaven.
Those who’ve been to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City say it’s unlike any other feeling to come so close to the image miraculously imprinted on a tilma (cloak) by the Virgin Mary more than 480 years ago.
“Her face, her expression—it’s like a mystical image,” said Msgr. Jorge De los Santos, who is helping lead a pilgrimage to the shrine. “You feel that
you’re in front of someone very special. Then you go out of the shrine feeling that she’s your mother.”
Pilgrims are invited to share this experience while on the Archdiocese of Denver’s Year of Faith Pilgrimage to Mexico City Aug. 29-Sept. 3.
“You can be assured that all people who will come on this pilgrimage will feel this same feeling. They will feel that they are before the mother of God
and before their mother as well,” he said.
Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Msgr. De los Santos, vicar for Hispanic Ministry for the archdiocese, will lead pilgrims on an unforgettable spiritual journey to reinvigorate their faith and celebrate the patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe came to bring us Jesus,” Msgr. De los Santos said. “This is the reason we go to visit this place where Our Lady appeared—to
celebrate our faith.”
Those on pilgrimage will spend six days in Mexico kneeling in prayer before the tilma bearing Mary’s image,
celebrating Mass at the shrine and drinking water from a miraculous well.
Pilgrims will also visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the rosary chapel and the ruins of the Aztecs, among other sightseeing stops. The pilgrims will venture into Mexico City where they will dine, visit more shrines and stay for the night.
Archbishop Aquila entrusted his ministry in Denver to Our Lady of Guadalupe, “who has always covered me with her mantle of love and protection … she has become dear to my heart, especially as a bishop.”
The title of Our Lady of Guadalupe wasn’t known until after the apparitions and miracle in Mexico in 1531. Accounts report Juan Diego, an Indian convert, was walking to Mexico City on Dec. 9 when he heard the strains of celestial music and saw a vision of a woman amidst a glorious light. She told him that she was Mary, the mother of God, and made known her desire to build a shrine where she stood to demonstrate her love, compassion
“”For I am your merciful Mother to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help,” she told Diego. “Therefore, go to the dwelling of the bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire.”
Diego told the archbishop of her request and he instructed him to ask Mary for a sign.
Diego returned to the archbishop and opened his cloak, which was filled with blooming roses. The roses fell to the floor and an image of the Virgin was miraculously imprinted on his cloak. The miracle led to the greatest conversion in the Church’s history, Msgr. De los Santos said.
“As soon as Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared, the conversion was massive,” he said, adding that millions of people subsequently converted. Pope John Paul II proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas and of unborn children in 1999. The cloak is displayed today at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
To this day, scientists and researchers cannot explain how the cloak with the image of Mary remains intact and perfectly preserved after 480 years. Replicas of the image, according to physicist Aldofo Orozco, lasted no more than 10 years in the salty and humid
environment around the basilica.
At the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe, he said the conservation of the tilma, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”
All Catholics are invited to journey as a community on the pilgrimage that aims to renew
the soul and incite fervor for Christ while recognizing the pope’s proclaimed Year of
“It’s a once in lifetime spiritual experience,” said Luis Soto, who serves on the Year of
Faith Committee that planned the pilgrimage. “It’s a great opportunity to spend time with our archbishop. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with fellow Catholics during pilgrimage and a beautiful encounter with God.”
Nissa LaPoint: 303-715-3138; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.twitter.com/DCRegisterNissa