St. Therese to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe

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The parish of St. Therese Catholic Church will celebrate the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a procession, Mass, traditional song service and feast day.

The observances mark an apparition of the Virgin Mary seen in Tepayac, Mexico, in 1531, which led to the conversion of millions of native Mexicans, explained Father Paul Brant, parochial vicar at St. Therese.

Mary appeared to Juan Diego, the seer of Guadalupe, told him of her love for the people of Mexico and asked that the local bishop build a church in the spot where she appeared, according to accounts of the apparition. Diego explained the request to the bishop, who asked for a sign from heaven to confirm the miraculous event.

Mary promised a sign to convince the bishop, but Diego found his uncle gravely ill and in need of last sacraments. On his way to find a priest, Diego saw Mary again, and she told him he was free to visit the bishop because his uncle had been made well.

She instructed Diego to climb Tepayac Hill and pick flowers, which were unlike any he had seen before, and keep them hidden in his tilma — a cloak made of cactus fiber — until he could show them to the bishop.

Diego picked the flowers and while presenting them to the bishop, he opened his tilma to reveal “an exquisite image of Our Lady.”

“In the image, she stands as she appeared, a native princess with high cheekbones,” a narrative of the event states. “Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her blue cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition.”

A temple was built on the site where Mary appeared, and the tilma remains “miraculously preserved” despite having a natural life of 30 years.

Pope Pius XII decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be Patroness of the Americas on Oct. 12, 1945.

St. Therese will celebrate the miracle on Sunday with a 1 p.m. Mass at St. Alphonsus Church, 810 Reid St., and a procession through the streets beginning at 2 p.m. and arrival at St. Therese around 4 p.m. There will be prayers and singing before a 5 p.m. Mass and food available for those who took part in the procession.

Traditional mañanitas will be sung at 11 p.m. Monday, and a Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.