De­spite priest scan­dal, faith­ful to cel­e­brate the Mar­ian Feast Days

The Taos News - - RELIGION - David A. Fernán­dez de Taos

De­spite the re­cent lo­cal and world­wide rev­e­la­tions of hor­rific and re­pug­nant priests’ abuse of chil­dren, Catholic faith­ful, in­clud­ing the Taos area, again will cel­e­brate the beau­ti­ful Mar­ian Feast Days of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion, San Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe from Dec. 7 12.

In Taos, the Guadalupe Feast Day ob­ser­vance is es­pe­cially per­ti­nent as the parish here is ded­i­cated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and is the first and old­est parish in the United States named for her.

The first of these im­me­di­ate Mar­ian Feasts is that of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion, Dec. 7-8, fo­cus­ing on St. Joachim’s and St. Anne’s con­ceiv­ing of their daugh­ter, Mary, who was des­tined to be­come the mother of Je­sus. Be­cause of her destiny, it is an ar­ti­cle of faith in the Ro­man Catholic Church that Mary “was con­ceived with­out (orig­i­nal) sin” so that she could be the pure Christ-bearer who was to give birth to Je­sus the Mes­siah.

The sec­ond feast of these Mar­ian days is that of San Juan Diego, ob­served on Dec. 9. In the year 1531,

487 years ago, it is doc­u­mented and sub­stan­ti­ated that she who is called now Our Lady of Guadalupe ap­peared to a na­tive Mex­i­can In­dian cit­i­zen, Juan Diego, on the Hill of Tepeyac by Mex­ico City, or Tenochti­t­lan. She asked the man to tell the arch­bishop of her wish that a shrine in her honor be built there.

Juan Diego told her he was not wor­thy and that no one would be­lieve him. She gave him a sign for Arch­bishop Zu­mar­raga, which was her own im­age mirac­u­lously im­printed on Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak.

When the Arch­bishop saw the im­age, he was con­vinced. The shrine was built, and the site has now be­come the mag­nif­i­cent Basil­ica of Guadalupe in Mex­ico City, which more than 20 mil­lion pil­grims visit each year and where this “im­age not made by hu­man hand” re­mains undi­min­ished in its vi­brancy.

Pope John Paul II can­on­ized San Juan Diego on July

31, 2000. This “un­wor­thy” Mex­i­can na­tive man is now es­teemed and hon­ored by all for his hav­ing been cho­sen to re­ceive the Lady’s im­age and carry it to the arch­bishop and to all the world.

The third feast day is that of Our Lady of Guadalupe her­self, cel­e­brated with high­est hon­ors that in­clude ves­pers on Dec.

11, and then her feast day Dec. 12. She is the pa­troness of Mex­ico and of all the Amer­i­cas, and of the world as Our Lady of Peace, who is beloved and in­voked and sought for her con­so­la­tion and in­ter­ces­sion on all the peo­ples’ be­half, with her son, Je­sus.

The Taos cel­e­bra­tions of her feast day and the re­lated Mar­ian Days are rev­er­ent, joy­ful and beau­ti­ful, and these days are also in­ti­mately in­te­gral to the “sa­cred time” of the church’s litur­gi­cal pe­riod of Ad­vent, which leads to the great cel­e­bra­tion of the birth of Christ, Christ­mas.

The Taos Parish of Nues­tra Señora de Guadalupe was de­creed into ex­is­tence in 1833 al­though the first ac­tual church build­ing un­der her name was es­tab­lished and com­pleted early in1802. The San Geron­imo Church at Taos Pueblo was the parochial cen­ter at the time. When the area was sub­sumed into the United States, the Taos parish be­came, de facto, the first Guadalu­pan parish in the U.S.

The Parish in­cludes the neigh­bor­ing vil­lage

capil­las, or chapels of Santa Teresa in El Prado, San An­to­nio at La Loma, In­mac­u­lada Con­cep­cion in Ran­chi­tos, San Geron­imo at Taos Pueblo and Nues­tra Señora de Dolores in Cañon. About 1,500 Taos-area fam­i­lies are for­mally reg­is­tered as Guadalupe Parish mem­bers.

Our Lady of Guadalupe con­tin­ues to be hon­ored and loved aqui en Taos as she is by many hun­dreds of mil­lions do around the world, and as have count­less mul­ti­tudes of mil­lions dur­ing the past sev­eral cen­turies since she ap­peared to San Juan Diego in 1531.

To the Taos faith­ful and else­where in the world her feast days are also op­por­tu­nity to in­voke her in­ter­ces­sion on be­half of the world’s poor and suf­fer­ing, in­clud­ing all who are op­pressed by na­tion­states and by other fel­low hu­man be­ings; for all those who live un­der the af­flic­tion of con­stant wars and in­jus­tice; and for an end to abuse of any and all kinds.

Her in­ter­ces­sion is needed now more than ever.

File photo

Finely de­tailed statue of the Our Lady of Guadalupe in­side Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Taos.

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