In 1531, the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe brought an end to human sacrifice all over the Americas. Before she appeared to St. Juan Diego, cruel human sacrificing rituals were performed on a scale never approached, even remotely, by other peoples of the era.
Many methods were used. In one of their religious ceremonies, the victims had their heart cut out by satanic high priests, and it was then held up to the people while it was still beating. The victims were then tossed from the top of the temple pyramids where kept animals devoured them.
During the dedication of a new pyramid temple the Chronicles of 1487 show that up to 80,000 human sacrifices occurred in four days. Woodrow Borah, a leading authority on the demography of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest, estimated that the number of humans sacrificed in Mexico in the fifteenth century to be 250,000 per year. The early Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico was sacrificed to the Aztec gods.
But the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe changed darkness into light almost overnight even though in 1534 King Henry VIII declared himself supreme head of the Church of England. Approximately 8-10 million Catholics left the Church in Europe due to the Reformation and at the same time approximately 8-10 million Aztecs converted to the Roman Catholic Church because of the apparitions.
Devotion to her spread everywhere. As early as 1575 Pope Gregory XIII issued a memorandum granting approval and extending a special blessing. In 1754 a painting of the tilma by the famous Mexican artist Manuel Cabrera, was brought to Pope Benedict XIV. When he saw it he fell to his knees with the words from Psalm 147 “To no other nation has this been done.” He declared Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Patroness of Mexico,” and issued a special Octave of first class for the Mexican Church and later to all the Spanish speaking countries.
In 1805 Pope Pius VII attached the Sanctuary of Guadalupe permanently to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and later in 1904, Pope St. Pius X raised the sanctuary to the status of a Basilica. In 1894, Pope Leo XIII authorized a new Mass and crowning ceremony for the Sacred Image. So touched was Pope Leo XIII that he went as far as writing a poem about Our Lady of Guadalupe. In one of the lines he says, “Happy in the possession of Thy Miraculous Image the Mexican people rejoice in Thy sway.”
On August 24, 1910, Pope St. Pius X proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Patroness of the whole of the Latin Americas.” Years later in 1933, Pope Pius XI again gave her this title. In 1945 on the 50th anniversary of her crowning issued by Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius XII proclaimed her, “Empress of the All the Americas” going as far as reciting a message and prayer over the radio stating, “as long as we recognize you as Queen and Mother, Mexico and America will be safe.”
But probably the biggest honor paid to her by the Church is when Pope Blessed John XXIII proclaimed a Marian Year for the whole church from December 12, 1960 to December 12, 1961 giving Our Lady of Guadalupe the title of “Mother of the Americas” thus bringing to fulfillment Our Lady’s prophetic words to St. Juan Diego, “I am truly your merciful Mother, …and all the other people of different ancestries.” Due to the communications means of the time not many people, outside of church attendees, found out about this special Marian year for the whole church, beginning and ending on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Later during his sickness and last stages of his life, Pope Blessed John XIII said, “…Mother and Teacher of the Faith to the peoples of the Americas. Be also our protector and save us, O Immaculate Mary…”
After the death of Pope Blessed John XIII, Pope Paul VI reintroduced a beautiful custom of presenting a Golden Rose to an outstanding shrine of Our Lady, and authorized this singular honor to the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which can be seen today at the Shrine. And in our time Pope Blessed John Paul II made many visits to her including the very first time he left the Vatican as Pope, going all the way to Mexico City, he fell to his knees and exclaimed, “So this is what the Mother of God looks like!” He gave her the title of “Star of Evangelization” and reminded everyone of the words she spoke to St. Juan Diego, “Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?…Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?”
On May 13, 2005, Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI prayed in Spanish before Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican Gardens saying, “Holy Mary, who under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe are invoked as mother by men and women, …encouraged by the love you inspire in us, we once again place our life in your maternal hands.” The Holy Father then placed flowers at the foot of the statue saying a Hail Mary and praying, “May you who are present in the Vatican Gardens, hold sway in the hearts of all the mothers of the world and in our own heart. With great hope, we turn to you and trust in you.”
Five centuries later, Our Lady of Guadalupe and her words are still very relevant to us today. Our very own Bishop Joe S. Vasquez has a strong and special devotion to her since childhood. On one occasion, he even celebrated midnight Mass in her honor in the rain. Because it was raining sideways, even though he was under a tarp, he too got drenched, but nothing was going to stop him or the faithful from celebrating a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe commenting later with love, “The people out there had no umbrellas.”
Today we know Our Lady of Guadalupe as “Patroness of the Unborn” because she is pregnant on the tilma. In the United States of America, more than a million children are killed every year, and well over 50 million since 1973. These killings, which dwarf the numbers of the sacrifices of the Aztecs, are no longer executed under the sun in open air, on the top of a pyramid for all the people in city to see and hear, but hidden from anybody except the few personnel of the abortion providers, in facilities that can be found in many cases in shopping centers.
December 12th is the Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Patroness of the Unborn”. Celebrate and attend mass in her honor at your nearest parish. Ask her to put an end to human sacrifice in our city – in our very own city of Austin. We entrust to Our Lady of Guadalupe the protection of all human life and the family which brings new life into the world. We pray that, here, in our very own city of Austin, Texas, in the midst of a seemingly impregnable darkness, she will once again shine forth radiantly as the champion of the unborn and the family.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pregnant mother, standing against the horror of human sacrifice we place the unborn, our families, and our city, underneath your mantle of protection. Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Patroness of the Unborn,” pray for us!
3rd Annual Our Lady of Guadalupe Play
WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2011 @ 10:45 – 11:45 A.M.
WHERE: Saint Mary Cathedral
WHO: Homeschooling students called FISCHE
HOSTS: Close to the 300 CFF students plus parishioners.
VIEW PHOTOS FROM LAST YEAR’S EVENT: http://www.smcaustin.org/index.cfm?load=photoalbum&album=62
WORDS FROM OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: “Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more?”