Today we celebrate the great Marian feast of Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Known as the Patroness of the Americas and patroness of my home diocese, Phoenix, the Virgin of Guadalupe is loved by both Mexicans and Americans. Not only does this continent love her; many Catholics across the globe also have a great devotion to Our Lady under this title as well.
One man who had a deep devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe was Pope St. John Paul II. Visiting Mexico five times during his Pontificate, John Paul II loved visiting Mexico and speaking about Our Lady of Guadalupe, once saying he knew what it felt like to be a “Mexican Pope.” He also understood the correlations between his home country of Poland, and that of Mexico – two Catholic nations that had endured persecutions, yet remained faithful to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
Here are 12 quotes from Pope St. John Paul II from a variety of his homilies, speeches, and addresses during his four visits to Mexico –
“…to all of you, Mexicans, who have a splendid past of love for Christ, even in the midst of trials; to you who bear in the depths of your heart devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Pope wishes to speak today about something which is, and must increasingly be an essential Christian and Marian feature of yours: faithfulness to the Church.”
“…while waiting for the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Guadalupe, I experience the same sentiments, as when I used to go—and I hope that I will be able to go again in the not distant future—to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa.”
“I have great hopes in your love for Christ and for men. There is a great deal to be done. Let us set out with renewed enthusiasm; united with Christ, under the motherly gaze of the Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe the sweet mother of priests and religious.”
“In fact, when the first missionaries who reached America from lands of eminent Marian tradition taught the rudiments of Christian faith, they also taught love for you, the Mother of Jesus and of all people. And ever since the time that the Indian Juan Diego spoke of the sweet Lady of Tepeyac, you, Mother of Guadalupe, have entered decisively into the Christian life of the people of Mexico.”
“We also are awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit, who will make us see the paths of evangelization by which the Church must continue and must be reborn in this great continent of ours. We also wish today and in the days ahead to devote ourselves to prayer with Mary, the Mother of our Lord and Master—with you, Mother of hope, Mother of Guadalupe.”
“We offer you the whole of this People of God. We offer you the Church in Mexico and in the whole continent. We offer it to you as your own, You have entered so deeply into the hearts of the faithful through that sign of your presence constituted by your image in the Shrine of Guadalupe; be at home in these hearts, for the future also. Be at home in our families, our parishes, missions, dioceses, and in all the peoples.”
“…The Church must proclaim the Gospel of life and speak out with prophetic force against the culture of death. May the Continent of Hope also be the Continent of Life! This is our cry: life with dignity for all! For all who have been conceived in their mother’s womb, for street children, for Guadalupe!…Grant that Christian families may exemplarily raise their children in the Church’s faith and in love of the Gospel, so that they will be the seed of apostolic vocations.”
“I wish to entrust and offer the future of the continent to Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church. For this reason, I have the joy now of announcing that I have declared that on 12 December Our Lady of Guadalupe faith of our brothers and sisters, so that in all areas of social, professional, cultural and political life they may act in accord with the truth and the new law which Jesus brought to humanity.”
“…I would like to turn my thoughts to Tepeyac, to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the first and the new evangelization of America. To her I entrust the pilgrim Church in Mexico and the American continent, and I fervently ask her to guide her children, so that they will enter the third millennium with faith and hope.”
“‘The Guadalupe Event’, as the Mexican Episcopate has pointed out, “meant the beginning of evangelization with a vitality that surpassed all expectations. Christ’s message, through his Mother, took up the central elements of the indigenous culture, purified them and gave them the definitive sense of salvation” (14 May 2002, No. 8). Consequently Guadalupe and Juan Diego have a deep ecclesial and missionary meaning and are a model of perfectly inculturated evangelization.”
“In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.”
‘Dear Mexicans: thank you for your hospitality, for your constant affection, for your fidelity to the Church. Continue to be faithful on this journey, encouraged by the marvelous examples of holiness born in this noble nation. Be holy! Repeating what I said to you in the Basilica of Guadalupe in 1990, serve God, the Church and the nation, each one assuming personal responsibility for passing on the Gospel message and witnessing to a faith that is alive and active in society.”
Pope St. John Paul II…Pray For Us.
Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray For Us.