Congress, Festival for Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Events will take place Aug. 6 -8 in Phoenix following Supreme Convention.

The Knights of Columbus will hold its First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe from August 6-8, 2009, following the organization’s 127th annual convention in Phoenix.

The Congress will conclude with a Guadalupe Festival at Arena on August 8. Nearly 20,000 attendees are expected from throughout the United States and from Mexico.

Co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Center for Guadalupan Studies, the Congress will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and will feature talks by experts from throughout United States and Latin America on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“The centrality of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Americas as ‘the Christian Hemisphere’ is clearly evident throughout North and South America,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who will speak both at the Marian Congress and at the Guadalupe Festival. “Her message today is one that has as much importance and meaning today as it did nearly 500 years ago.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe is honored as the Empress of the Americas and devotion to her is widespread throughout the hemisphere, and in a particular way throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

The lectures will focus on the meaning of the message, some of the scientifically inexplicable aspects of the image, and the relevance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in today’s world. Speakers include Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann from Peru, who has done extensive studies of the reflections in the image’s eyes; Rev. Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego – the Indian to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in December 1531; and other experts on key elements of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message.

The Guadalupe Festival will feature an afternoon of music, prayer and inspiration speeches. Appearing will be best-selling author Imaculee Ilibagiza, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Special invited guest speakers include actor Eduardo Verastegui. Performers at the festival will include Irish singer Dana, a mariachi band and matachin dancers.