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Header - Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the unborn

 

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Why “Patroness of the Unborn”?

Virgin of Guadalupe ImageOf all the many manifestations of Mary’s loving presence among us throughout the centuries, in this apparition alone does she appear to us in the manner of a pregnant mother. She holds within her the unborn Christ, proclaiming the sanctity and blessedness of life within the womb. Her reverence and tenderness communicate to us the joy and awe with which we must approach each embryonic life.

Since 1973, with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade which gave legal protection to the monstrous sin of abortion, a parallel shedding of innocent blood has taken place. The unborn innocent victim is brutally tortured in that very place he was placed by God for his protection and development.

Today we find ourselves in the midst of an even more enormous and dramatic conflict between good and evil, the "culture of life" and the "culture of death." Just as Our Lady of Guadalupe freed the indigenous peoples of Mexico from their savage customs, so can she “crush the serpent’s head” here in America under the title of “Protectress of the Unborn.”

Let us not cease in crying out for her protection on behalf of our pre-born brothers and sisters. Only by imitating Our Lady’s respect for life from the moment of conception can we hope to inherit Life itself. Under her gentle direction we find not only shelter and rest, but confidence and strength to go forth to battle the evil of abortion in our land. Full of confidence in her power to obtain great victories from God, let us turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 

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A Brief Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe

On December 12, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary spoke to a humble native in his own Nahuatl tongue. The exact sound that met the Mexican’s ears was “Juanito, Juan Diegito.” It was an endearing expression that a fond mother would use for her child. English would render it: “Dear little Juan.”

Image of Our Lady of GuadalupeShe motioned Juan to come closer. Advancing a step or two he sank to his knees, overwhelmed by the loveliness of the vision. The beautiful lady requested that a shrine be built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking to him in the native language, Our Lady called herself “of Guadalupe,” a Spanish name meaning the one "who crushes the serpent."

Sadly, the bishop refused to believe that the Mother of God would appear to a poor, illiterate Mexican like Juan. Juan returned to the place of the apparition where Our Lady again appeared. She told him to return the next morning when she would give him a sign that would convince the bishop of the truth of her appearance and her request.

The following morning Our Lady told Juan to go to the top of the hill and gather Castilian roses that he would find there. Although he knew that only cactus grew there, he obeyed, and his simple faith was rewarded by the sight of beautiful roses growing where she had told him they would be.

He gathered them and showed them to Our Lady who rearranged them for him, placing them in his cloak or “tilma.” Juan returned to the bishop. As he opened his tilma, the roses fell to the floor. All who were present were startled to see an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe clearly imprinted on the tilma.

Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego's tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City.

In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not a goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.

 

The Serpent’s Head Is Crushed

When Mary first appeared to Blessed Juan Diego, Mexico had been in the hands of Christian leaders for only a short time. Human sacrifice, where the blood of innocents was often spilled to appease the thirsty demons of the old rite, was still practiced. The Aztec priests executed annually at least 50,000 inhabitants of the land — men, women and children — in human sacrifices to their gods. In 1487, just in a single four-day ceremony for the dedication of a new temple in Tenochtitlan, some 80,000 captives were killed in human sacrifice. The same practices, which in most cases included the cannibalism of the victims’ limbs, were common also in earlier Mesoamerican cultures, with widespread Olmec, Toltec and Mayan human sacrificing rituals.

Children were said to be frequent victims, in part because they were considered pure and unspoiled. The early Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico were sacrificed. Into this cavern of darkness and ignorance, our Lady of Guadalupe brought a message of maternal compassion:

“I am the merciful Mother, the Mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate their suffering, necessities, and misfortunes.”

By 1541, just ten years after the apparitions, there were ten million Indians who had been converted from paganism. Before Our Lady’s coming the missionaries were able to pour the saving waters of Baptism upon the heads of only one million natives, and most of these were orphaned children, victims of war, whom the loving missionaries had adopted and educated. Such a mass conversion was an unprecedented phenomenon, the likes of which had never been witnessed in any country of the world.

How much our nation still needs her message of compassion! Let us together pray for the assistance and protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her face radiates the very light of God, while her example reveals authentic femininity. She shows unparalleled compassion to the poor and defenseless, but unyielding power and triumph over the evil one and his cohorts.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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