Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe online

Published: December 10, 2020

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 12. Normally, there are special celebrations to honor the Patroness of the Americas in parishes across Arkansas, but many have been canceled or modified to safeguard against COVID-19. Contact your parish for information about feast day events in your area. If unable to participate at your parish, the Holy Father and Knights of Columbus are offering ways to experience this feast day online from the safety of your home.

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the coronation of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis is granting Catholics worldwide the opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence from home. A plenary indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment for sins. To receive the indulgence, a person must do the following: prepare an altar or place of prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe at home; watch and actively participate in a livestream or televised Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Dec. 12; and fulfill the usual requirements to: pray for the Holy Father's intentions; be in a state of grace after confession; attend Mass; and receive Communion.

On the feast of St. Juan Diego, Dec. 9, the Knights of Columbus released Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Digital Age, a new, online featured dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It includes access to the Knights documentary, "Guadalupe: The Miracle and the Message," information from "Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love," a book written by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego, details about the image imprinted on the tilma of St. Juan Diego and much more.

Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe began in December 1531 when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared as an Aztec princess to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac, outside a small village near Mexico City. The poor, humble man, who was declared a saint in 2002, told his bishop about the visits from the Virgin of Guadalupe and her desire for a church to be built on the site where she appeared. The bishop asked for a sign to prove that Juan Diego was telling the truth.

When Juan Diego asked Mary to provide this proof, she told him to gather the roses growing on the hillside. Even though roses are rare in December, he was able to fill his cloak with them. When he returned to the bishop, he opened his cloak and the fresh roses fell to the ground and miraculously revealed an imprint of Our Lady’s image on his tilma (cloak). 

The bishop fell to his knees and agreed to build a church on the site. The Catholic Church approved the apparition in 1555. Our Lady of Guadalupe was solemnly crowned Queen of the Mexican people in the name of Pope Leo XIII in 1895. As a result, millions converted to Christianity in Mexico. Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only the patroness of Mexico, but of all the Americas as well as the protector of unborn children. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is now located on the site where she appeared.

Miraculously, the 489-year-old tilma that held Our Lady of Guadalupe's image remains to this day. According to the International Marian Research Institute, it has survived 17th-century floods in Mexico City and was undamaged by a bomb explosion. The colors have not faded over time and the cactus cloth remains intact although such material typically lasts fewer than 20 years. Rich with symbolism, the image itself reveals part of the message Our Lady came to give the people of Mexico.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

This prayer was taken from the 2010 Respect Life Liturgy Guide from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

"Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of unborn children, we implore your intercession for every child at risk of abortion. Help expectant parents to welcome from God the priceless gift of their child’s life. Console parents who have lost that gift through abortion, and lead them to forgiveness and healing through the Divine Mercy of your Son. Teach us to cherish and to care for family and friends until God calls them home. Help us never to see others as burdens. Guide our public officials to defend each and every human life through just laws. Inspire us all to bring our faith into public life, to speak for those who have no voice. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is Love and Mercy itself. Amen."