The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (who is considered a patroness for the Knights of Columbus) is Dec. 12. Here’s how you can join them in putting their faith in action and in reviving devotion to the Mother of God.
1. Teach someone the prayers of the rosary in Spanish or another language.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, a Native born and raised in Mexico, several times on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City in 1531. She appeared as a mestiza — a woman of mixed Native and Spanish heritage — and shared the message that she is the mother of all peoples, asking that a shrine be built in her honor. The bishop at first dismissed the apparition, but after Our Lady’s image miraculously appeared on Juan Diego’s tilma — or cloak — the shrine was built.
In the centuries since, Our Lady of Guadalupe has become one of the most popular devotions among Hispanic Catholics. The Knights of Columbus has long recognized the devotion of Hispanic Catholics and their important contributions to the Catholic faith. Knights of Columbus councils were instituted in Mexico as early as 1905 and first primarily Hispanic council in the U.S. was founded in Los Angeles in 1927.
So the feast day is the perfect opportunity for Knights take their rosaries and lead a bilingual rosary at your parish or home.
(Don’t know the prayers in Spanish? This Knights of Columbus prayer guide offered in both Spanish and English might help.)
2. Make a power move — publicly display your devotion to Our Lady Guadalupe during a procession in her honor.
Knights of Columbus have proudly joined processions where statues and images of the Virgin of Guadalupe are carried throughout the streets.
Check to see if your parish or diocese hosts a Guadalupe procession. If not, lead a private procession around your home — you might even learn the words and music to “Las Mañanitas,” a folk song sung before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
3. Separate the tilma facts from the myths.
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is truly miraculous: It has qualities that can’t humanly be replicated and it’s virtually indestructible.
4. Learn the worldwide appeal of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is honored beyond Mexico borders and, according to Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, “Our Lady of Guadalupe truly brings us together as one family.”
This worldwide appeal of Our Lady of Guadalupe is reflected in her many titles, including the Patroness of all America, the Patroness of Mexico, the Patroness of the Philippines, Patroness of the Unborn, Star of the New World and Mother of the Civilization of Love.
In Poland, where the image was at first little known, Our Lady of Guadalupe has found many more devotees, thanks to the Knights of Columbus. Knights brought an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico to Poland in 2011, and in less than a year some 150,000 people prayed before it in Tychy, Bielski-Biala, Rzeszów, Ludźmierz and other areas throughout the country.
The image allows Poles to feel closer to St John Paul II, who called Our Lady of Guadalupe “the star of the new evangelization.”
5. Take on her missionary spirit.
The message of Our Lady of Guadalupe at its essence is missionary — it’s a message to love her son, Jesus Christ, and to share the love of her son with all peoples.
For Knights this mission is illuminated in this homily from Archbishop William Lori, supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus:
“Our Lady of Guadalupe is calling upon you, as she called upon St. Juan Diego and Bishop Zumarraga … there are so many men and so many families that could find their way to Christ and the Church through us, the Knights of Columbus, and through our witness to the faith.
She wants to touch our lives, deeply and personally, so that as leaders of the Knights we can be intentional disciples of her Son who in turn will advance the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel.”
(Read about these Knights doing mission work in Mexico, whose trip brought them to help people literally living in a garbage landfill.)
All Catholic men are welcome put their faith in action and show this missionary zeal by joining the Knights of Columbus: www.kofc.org/joinus
Learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe in this film narrated by Jim Caviezel.
A graduate of Belmont Abbey College, Rose Wagner is a communications professional and editor for the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn.
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