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Despite priest scandal, faithful to celebrate the Marian Feast Days

By David A. Fernández
For The Taos News
Posted 12/5/18

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 …

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Column

Despite priest scandal, faithful to celebrate the Marian Feast Days

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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 nation-states 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.

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