We started out on Tuesday, January 13 for a nine day pilgrimage as a diverse group: a priest, a deacon, five religious sisters, married couples, parents, grandparents, singles, widows and young adults. We were all on a spiritual journey for “religious motives to a holy site where the grace of God is manifested in a special way” (USCCB). We celebrated Mass at the most sacred sites associated with the story of St. Juan Diego including the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Shrine of the Fifth Apparition. We carried your prayers and petitions with us and offered them up to God when we prayed our novena to St. Juan Diego and during Mass.
We all came on the pilgrimage for different reasons. For some it was to celebrate 50 years of religious life for others it was a curiosity and desire to see the sacred image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other sites important in the history of our patron saint and for others it was a desire for a deep spiritual experience. Whatever the original reason , this pilgrimage was also an experience in the building up of the Body of Christ. This group of diverse pilgrims came together as a real community who cared for one another (especially those who got a little sick) and shared their gifts with one another. For example, Ken Willett stepped up and led us in singing at Mass including our favorite song Alabaré (Praise God) along with other songs to Mary. Raquel Apodaca was a great blessing to us with her ability to help translate and speak Spanish. And many of the pilgrims volunteered to lead us in grace before meals and helped lector at Mass. I am so thankful for all their gifts.
As a group we will go forth and continue the evangelization that is the story of Juan Diego. One pilgrim shared with me how she plans to evangelize by taking the coffee she bought at the monastery (harvested and made by the Benedictine monks) into work to share with her coworkers. This will provide her the opportunity to talk about her pilgrimage and open the door to sharing her faith with her coworkers. What a wonderful and simple way to evangelize.
“Am I not here who is your mother” (written in Spanish above) these were the words Mary spoke to Juan Diego. These words are found all over the sacred sites we visited and are meant to give us comfort.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for us.
St. Juan Diego, Humble Servant of God, Pray for us.