December 10, 2023

Dear Parish Family,

As we enter the Second Week of Advent, our hearts and minds are drawn to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This celebration holds great significance, particularly for our Mexican and Mexican-American brothers and sisters. Revered as “La Morenita,” the Brown Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas and an embodiment of Mary, the Mother of God, deeply cherished across our hemisphere.

This feast day celebrates the Blessed Mother’s appearances in 1531 to St. Juan Diego, whose tilma bears her miraculous image. Significantly, she is depicted as a mestiza, symbolizing a divine blend of cultures, and is dressed in symbols denoting her role as the bearer of Christ. Her image, pregnant with Christ and adorned with celestial symbols, represents not just a divine fusion of cultures but also a beacon of hope and liberation for people of all backgrounds. This image is not just a symbol of cultural harmony; it’s a vibrant proclamation of the Gospel – the Good News of salvation in Christ. To the oppressed Aztecs and to us today, she signifies God’s closeness and response to suffering.

In the sixteenth century, amidst the cultural turmoil between Spain and Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe emerged as a typus ecclesiae, a model for the Church, embracing multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural identities. This vision of the Church, pregnant with the Incarnate Word, reflects what we are called to be – bearers of Christ for the world’s salvation.

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe during Advent is profoundly fitting. She reminds us of the continuous rebirth of Christ in our lives. Like St. John the Baptist, she is a messenger from God, inviting us to make room for Christ. As the “woman clothed with the sun,” she also encapsulates the Advent theme of eschatological hope, longing for the Lord’s return.

In our parish, the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is deeply rooted and heartfelt. The stories of grace, the reverence shown to her, and the sense of a God who is intimately close and compassionate resonate strongly with me. The Hispanic community of our parish has worked together to plan an elaborate program of devotions leading up to the actual Feast this coming Tuesday. We will gather together to celebrate a Solemn Mass in the evening, followed by festivities in the Institute. All members of our parish are invited. Please make plans to join us to show our love and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Consider your participation as a way to delve into the rich spirituality of this season and to prepare room for the coming of the Lord.

As we light the rose candle in our Advent wreath and don rose-colored vestments this weekend, let us embrace the joy and hope that Our Lady of Guadalupe brings. She guides us to prepare not just for Christmas, but for the constant renewal of Christ in our hearts and lives.

Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham