Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 14, 2008
Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Americas
(some facts taken from American Catholic.org)
This past week we celebrated two very important feasts of Mary. One was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, (Dec. 8th), the patroness of the United States, and the second was Our Lady of Guadalupe, (Dec. 12th), the patroness of the Americas. Very often we associate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe only with Mexico but that is not completely true. It is true that this particular feast originated in Mexico but Mary, under this title, is the patroness of many people throughout the Americas. In some respects she is the patron of many people throughout the world.
This feast is a very important feast for the Mexican people. Mary appeared to a poor Native American Aztec widower who lived in a small village near Mexico City. The man’s name was Juan Diego. The significance of Mary’s apparition to this poor Aztec man was a powerful reminder to the non-Indian inhabitants of Mexico of the 16th century, that God accepts all peoples. In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for the Native American population. As a result, the number of Native Americans who came to be baptized grew significantly. There is a report that some 9 million Indians became Catholic in a very short time.
A fact somewhat less known is the fact that Mary, under this title, is the patroness of the unborn. When Mary appeared to Juan Diego five centuries ago, the culture of the Aztec society was one of sacrificial offerings. Thousands of people were sacrificed to their gods. There were many methods used. None of the methods were humane. The actual description of the torture is best left to another time and place.
Children were very often victims of such cruel torture and death because it was believed that they were considered pure and unspoiled. The younger the child, the purer the offering. We now have archaeological proof that these children were used for such sacrifice. Many of them, mostly boys, were around the age of 6 or even younger.
Today we find ourselves in the midst of a different situation yet, there are many aspects of the crisis that are the same. We know that there are many women who choose to abort their children simply because they are not wanted. There are perhaps as many reasons for abortion as there are women who have them. The reasons for abortion are different than the slaughter of human life five centuries ago but the fact that so many people who consider themselves educated and civilized are the ones having abortions, possibly make the abortion act even more cruel.
With the mass baptisms to Catholicism among the Native American population after the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, this Culture of Death was set aside. Sadly, we have lost this beautiful vision of the gift of Life. Perhaps we could take some time to do some reading or research on the culture of death that existed among the Natives of the 15th and 16th centuries. This might help us to gain a better perspective of where we stand with respect to the precious gift of life.
Lorette P. Nault