A new Knights of Columbus Marian Prayer Program dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe was launched Aug. 3 at the Supreme Convention in Denver. The prayer program will continue through next year, when the second international Guadalupe Festival will be held in the Los Angeles Coliseum a few days before the opening of the 2012 convention.
At the end of the Wednesday morning Mass, state deputies from each of the Order’s 72 jurisdictions received specially prepared framed images of Our Lady of Guadalupe for use in the prayer program. The images have unique features: they were touched to the original tilma of St. Juan Diego, which bears the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and were blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. In addition, the frame for the image is sealed with soil from Mexico’s Tepeyac hill, where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared.
In a commissioning ceremony after Communion, the state deputies processed toward the altar, carrying the images, and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, postulator for the cause of St. Juan Diego, gave the background on the Marian Prayer Program. Since 1979 the Knight of Columbus has conducted 15 such programs, honoring the Blessed Mother under her various titles, and more than 14 million Knights and other Catholics all over the globe have taken part in prayer services with the Marian images. Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori gave the prayer of commissioning and blessed the state deputies.
Hundreds of similar images of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be sent by the Supreme Council to each jurisdiction for the Marian Prayer Program. Local councils will be sponsor prayer services in parish churches and other locations before sending the image to neighboring councils. At the end of the program, most of the Order’s 14,000 councils will have received and prayed with the Guadalupe images.
The principal celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Major Penitentiary Emeritus in the Vatican, who served as archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996. In remarks before the final blessing, Cardinal Stafford complimented Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson for conducting the Marian Prayer Program with Our Lady of Guadalupe, and for leading Knights in the carrying out of the new evangelization.
The homilist was Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas. Speaking about the Marian Prayer Program, he said, “Through this initiative, we all pray that the world may know new hope, for Mary appears at the dawn of our salvation and her gift to the Church is always to be a new Advent, a new hope and an inspired response to the gift of salvation given by her Son, a gift she received in her mind and carried in her womb.”
He urged Knights of Columbus to be confident and firm in their faith as laypersons in the world. “We must be confident witnesses to Jesus Christ, witnesses who count on the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God … May the Eucharist today and our intimacy with Jesus continue to shape and transform us into his image.
“Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!”