Today, millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint.
Every year during this season, over 8 million people make their way to the Basilica of Saint Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Today, December 12th, marks the day in 1531 when the indigenous Juan Diego saw the Virgin of Guadalupe in a night-blue cloak studded with stars on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious image commonly called the “Queen of Mexico” and ”Empress of the Americas.” She is a prominent part of Mexican culture and an integral part of the Mexican identity.
The Vatican celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The catholic celebration was televised live on Telemundo and on various stations throughout the U.S. and viewed by many of the nation’s Hispanics. During the Mass, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed he will travel to Cuba and Mexico next year.
Over 40% of the world’s Catholics reside in Latin America. This will be Pope Benedict’s first trip to Mexico, which is the second only to Brazil as the world’s top Catholic nation.
To learn more about this important day read, THE AMERICANO: Hispanics remember Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas:
“The Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated every year on December 12th with a variety of rites ranging from the serenade with Mariachis the night before –which is televised nation-wide in Mexico– to the midnight ceremonies by concheros, who call upon nine spirit guides with pagan dances and Catholic chants all through the night, before dancing all day in front of the Basilica.
Hers is one of the main religious shrines in the world, second in visitors only to the Vatican. Pilgrims from all over Mexico and abroad converge on Tepeyac Hill, seeking healing and favors, keeping vows, or simply paying homage to their beloved Little Mother, Queen of Mexico, Patroness of the Americas. It is also a Feast Day in the United States.
The opening of the New World brought with it both fortune-seekers and religious preachers desiring to convert the native populations to the Christian faith. One of the converts was a poor Aztec Indian named Juan Diego….