LINCOLN (SNR) - All are invited to join Father Christopher L. Barak on an eight-day pilgrimage (Oct.11-18, 2011) to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, and nearby colonial towns.
Father Barak is the director of the Office of Religious Education for the Diocese of Lincoln.
In 1531 at Mexico City, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego and spoke to him four times asking for a shrine to be built for her children to come to her and she would draw them to Jesus.
She told him the first time, "I want very much to have a little house built here for me, in which I will show God, I will exalt Him and make Him manifest. I will give Him to the people in all my personal love, in my compassion, in my help, in my protection: because I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints, and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings. And to bring about what my compassionate and merciful concern is trying to achieve."
Blessed John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Patroness of the Americas. Those who attend the pilgrimage will pray for her intercession for the country and for government leaders.
In the fourth apparition, Mary told St. Juan Diego, "Listen, put it into your heart…, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed… Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you." This quote is engraved about the main entrance to the Basilica.
Mary provided roses in December at the top of the hill of Tepeyac, as the miracle requested by the Bishop of Mexico City. St. Juan Diego put the roses in his tilma (cloak) and presented the flowers to the bishop. Attendees will see face-to-face the image of Mary that has withstood fire, acid, and even a bomb that exploded beneath it. This image is not made from paint; no scientific explanation can answer of what the image is made and how the tilma has lasted five centuries without decay, since the cloth it is on is made of cactus fibers.
The group will visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe four times. Mass will be celebrated every day at the shrine or other beautiful churches in the area.
Five hundred years ago there were a tremendous number of human sacrifices in Mexico to the gods of the natives. In the image of Mary who appeared to St. Juan Diego the viewer sees she is pregnant by the symbol of the belt around her waist. She is the patroness for the unborn children and for mothers. She is the great helper in crushing the head of Satan, the murderer from the beginning (cf. John 8:44). She guides people to change the culture of death into a civilization of love and life. Pro-life advocates in particular will find this pilgrimage a great help and support. Mary will win grace from the Lord Jesus to embolden all in witness to life.
The pilgrimage will include a visit to the relics of Bl. Miguel Pro, a priest who was shot by a firing squad for providing the sacraments to faithful Catholics when the government was trying to destroy the Church. He died stretching out his arms crying out, "Long live Christ the King!" Those who attend will also pray at the tomb of Bl. Conchita, a holy wife and mother.
The group will also visit two beautiful colonial towns, see some ruins of Aztec societies, visit the Anthropological museum, ride on small boats through floating gardens, listen to a Mariachi band, watch colorfully-dressed folk dancers, and eat Mexican food.
This pilgrimage will be an opportunity to let Mary, the Mother of God, show her compassion and kindness towards all who love her and trust in her help for them and those for whom they pray.
Pilgrimage Planned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine