Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Guadalupe

For the church in America (North and South together), this biggest of nights -- this happiest of nights -- continues on....

At Maryville near Chicago, where over 130,000 have gathered again, they've come with miracles... and fireworks.

From the field there, a friend sent the following dispatch at 4am:
The celebration is phenomenal, and I say phenomenal because it is still going on. It will go on through the night and into the day and evening -- a 30-hr marathon.

I just can't express to you how humbling it is to see all these people coming in the middle of the cold night to express their faith and love in "la Morenita". It is such a humbling and edifying experience, to see these faith-filled people coming to fulfill their "mandas" or promises made to the Virgin (Maryville is the only place outside the Basilica in Mexico city where the faithful can satisfy their "mandas" to Our Lady; this was authorized by the Archdiocese of Mexico City a few years ago) especially in light of the society in which we live.

I saw people on their knees, making their way through the mud, pavement, stairs and snow in order for them to come before the image.

I prayed over a one year old child who was not given more than a month to live because of heart problems. he mother prayed to Gudalupe to intercede for his life, and today, almost a year after he was born his mom had brought him to give thanks. As I began to pray for the child, the father began to cry, the mother held her son in her arms and they cried together. Their faith was tangible.

Tonight, together with the faithful (number not yet known, last year over 130,000) I sang my lungs out, celebrated the Eucharist and then blessed religious articles until my hands got so cold I couldn't go on (after about 2 hrs). And now I just finished another Mass and am getting ready to go listen to the music bands that are still before the image of Our Lady. A group of pilgrims from Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago is expected to arrive at 5 am....

There is no doubt that nowhere else in the world (with the exception of Mexico City, of course) where such large numbers of people express their love and trust in the tender care "of la Morenita" as those I have witnessed tonight.
On this night, the church is alive, the church is young...

...and where they've led, so may we follow.

¬°Feliz Guadalupe a todos!