The Marian Heart of America: Our Lady of Guadalupe and our “Post-Christian” Society

Article originally published July 31st by Vatican Insider Documents


My dear friends,

I am just coming back from Mexico. I had the blessing a few weeks ago to lead our first pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As some of you know, I have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I learned it from my parents, beginning when I was a young boy growing up in Monterrey, Mexico.

Every summer my mom and dad would take my sisters and I on a 600-mile journey to visit our grandparents in Mexico City. And every time we went, our whole family would make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

My experience was not unique. This is what Catholic families do in Mexico — everyone tries to make a pilgrimage at least once a year to the Basilica.

I think most of us know the Guadalupe story. It takes us back to the “spiritual dawn” of the Church’s mission in the Americas.

It was December 1531 and the Blessed Virgin appeared to a poor Indian convert named Juan Diego on a hilltop outside Mexico City.

The Virgin entrusted Juan Diego with a mission — to go and ask the bishop to build a shrine in her name.

To convince the bishop, Our Lady gave him a sign. She made roses bloom even though it was the dead of winter. Then she used those roses to “imprint” her own image on the cloak — called a “tilma” — that Juan Diego was wearing.