Today Christians Celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Unborn Children

Our Lady of GuadalupeMay the Intercession of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’
be With All Pregnant Women and their Unborn Children
Image Courtesy: Fr. Richard Gonzales

(CNA) In December 1531 Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego (Feast Day: 09 December) who was hurrying down Tepeyac Hill to Celebrate Mass in Mexico City

According to SQPN the apparition identifying herself as the Mother of God, she instructed Juan Diego to tell Bishop Zumarraga to build a Church on the site where she stood.

Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary remained at the same place that evening and the following day awaiting on the Bishop’s response. At first, Bishop Zumarraga did not immediately believe Juan Diego, having him examined and watched but subsequently the Bishop told Juan Diego, to ask the Lady who claimed she was the Mother of God for a sign.

Juan Diego agreed readily to ask her for a sign desired by the Bishop. Juan was busy all of the next day with his uncle Bernardino dying of a fever, medicines had failed and it appeared that his days were short. At day break the following day, Juan ran to nearby St. James Convent for a Priest. In order to avoid the apparition and the untimely message of the Bishop, Juan slipped around where the well Chapel now stands but Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary crossed down to meet him and said, “What road is thou takest son?”

A tender dialogue reportedly ensued. The Blessed Virgin Mary reassured Juan about his uncle (to whom she had also briefly appeared and cured him) calling herself the ‘Holy Mary of Guadalupe’ she instructed Juan to return to the Bishop — Juan asked the Blessed Virgin Mary for a ‘sign’ which the Bishop required.

Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time or the place for roses but he did as he was instructed. Finding them just as she said, he gathered as many as his tilma (an outer garment/cloak worn by men during that period) would hold and returned to the Blessed Virgin Mary — She would rearrange the roses and told Juan to keep them untouched and unseen until he had seen the Bishop.

Doing just as he was told, when Juan again met with Bishop Zumarraga, he unfolded his tilma, the roses wet with dew fell out. Juan was startled to see the Bishop and his Attendants kneeling before him as the life size figure of the Blessed Virgin Mother just as Juan had described her was glowing on the tima. — The image was Venerated, guarded in the Bishop’s Chapel and soon thereafter carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.

An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions have been attributed to ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ — Each year, an estimated ten million people visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian Shrine in the world and the most visited Catholic Church in the world after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Although 24 Popes have officially honored ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ Pope Saint John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times.

The Feast of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ is celebrated on this date after Pope Saint John Paul II declared in his Homily at the ‘Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe’ in 1999 — the 12 December, as the Liturgical Holy Day for the entire continent. During this visit Pope Saint John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to “Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church” placing under her Motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

  • Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mt. Tepeyac, you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.

Accordingly listen now to our supplications, grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us, the graces we need. Amen.

More here from The Integrated Catholic Life and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. John Francis Regis, Patron Saint of Illegitimate Children

St John Francis Regis

St. John Francis Regis (1597-1640)

(Franciscan Media) Born in France at Font-Couverte into a family of some wealth, John Francis was educated at the Jesuit College at Breziers according to SQPN and was so impressed by his instructors, that he wanted to enter the ‘Society of Jesus’ and did so at the age of 18 — Despite his rigorous schedule, John Francis spent many hours in the Chapel, often to the dismay of his fellow Seminarians who were concerned about his health.

Following John Francis’ Ordination into the Priesthood, in 1632 he received his assignment as a missionary to the French Protestants according to Catholic News Agency as well as the country’s non-religious Catholics and others in need of evangelism–the rest of his life would be devoted to this mission with remarkable success.

Fr. John Francis’ missionary work spanned a large geographical distance and broad social spectrum, in over 50 districts of France, he ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children, the poor, prisoners, the forgotten or neglected of society–Fr. John Francis’ best known work involved helping Women escape prostitution as a result of his tireless labors, Fr. John Francis’ realized a harvest of conversions.

As a result of Fr. John Francis’ missionary work, he was perceived as arrogant in some cases which led to a conflict with some Priests, a period of tension with the local Bishop and even threats of violence from those whose sinful vices he condemned.

Against these obstacles Fr. John Francis persevered, sustained by fervent prayer a lifestyle known for abstinence and self-sacrifice. Fr. John Francis’ missionary work involved difficult Winter time journeys–a witness at his Beatification testified to the good Fr. John Francis’ habit of preaching outdoors all day, then hearing confessions all night.

Fr. John Francis passed away at the early age of 43 — Even though he was suffering from pneumonia, he insisted on ministering at a Parish Mission and hearing confessions. A Penitent later found Fr. John Francis unconscious in the confessional, he was subsequently revived long enough to receive last rites.

Hailed as a Confessor of the faith a model of Jesuit missionaries, Fr. John Francis was Beatified in 1716 by Pope Clement XI and Canonized in 1737 by Pope Clement XII

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic

Related: Bio Courtesy of St. John Francis Regis Parish, Bloomfield Hills, MI

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