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Knights of Columbus Holds Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe


Crowd fills Jobing.com Arena on Saturday, thousands more visit tilma relic at Cathedral Sunday.

Religious sisters listen to a presentation during the first International Marian Congress

Religious sisters listen to a presentation during the first International Marian Congress dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Knights of Columbus sponsored the first International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe from Aug. 6-8, 2009.

The congress, which preceded a family-friendly Guadalupe Festival at Jobing.com Arena on August 8, featured talks by experts from the United States and Latin America on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her image was miraculously left on St. Juan Diego’s tilma – or cloak – in 1531, and is one of the most recognizable religious images in the world.

Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Phoenix and the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos, the Congress was held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix.

Lecturers included Dr. José Aste Tonsmann from Peru, who has done extensive research on the reflections visible in the image’s eyes; Rev. Msgr. Eduardo Chávez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego and Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and co-author with Msgr. Chávez of “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love” (August 4, 2009, Doubleday).

In addition to addressing the scientific aspects of the image, the congress also discussed the spiritual meaning of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s message and its relevance today.

“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. “Her message is one that has as much importance and meaning today as it did nearly 500 years ago.”

Other elements of the Congress included an art exhibit featuring Guadalupe-related art works and a Friday night screening of the 2006 movie “Guadalupe,” presented by its producer, Pablo José Barroso.

Also at the Congress was the only relic of St. Juan Diego’s tilma in the United States, which was on loan from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles.