To honor the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis has sent a message to the people of the Americas, which asks acceptance of "human life at every stage” and for all to “open wide their arms, like the Virgin,” according to Wednesday’s Vatican News report.
Thursday, December 12 marks the Catholic Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the day in 1531 when Saint Juan Diego opened his peasant cloak before Bishop Zumárraga to reveal the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
As official Catholic accounts tell it, the Virgin Mary appeared before Juan Diego on December 9 and requested a shrine be built in her honor. The Bishop wanted a miraculous sign, one of which was the healing of Juan’s uncle and the other as mentioned above. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Marian shrine in the world. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas.
When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age, a land of generosity.
That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it is also my message, the message of the Church. I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness.
It is no wonder that Pope Francis was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2013.
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