Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Revelation 11:19.12:1-6; Luke 1:39-48)
The most astounding statement at the recent assembly of Hispanic leaders was not made by a bold youth. Nor was it uttered by a veteran Hispanic rabble rouser. Nor was it proclaimed by a pious bishop devotee of the Blessed Mother. As a matter of fact the person who pronounced it was neither young, ordained, nor even Hispanic. The Honorable Carl J. Anderson has been Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus for eighteen years. He served as a government lawyer in the administration of Ronald Reagan and has authored several books. At the Quinto Encuentro, the Hispanic assembly, Anderson told the audience that he is looking forward to the day when the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe replaces that of the Immaculate Conception as the patronal feast of the United States.
The reason for the change is straightforward. Our Lady of Guadalupe has an American origin. She appeared to a native peasant on a hillside outside Mexico City almost 500 years ago. There she claimed to be protector of the people of this land. At first, only the indigenous saw in her motive to believe in her son, Jesus Christ, as their savior. Not long afterwards the whole of Mexico – white, brown, and mestizo -- adopted her as their patron. Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed the Virgin of Guadalupe “patroness of the Americas.” Now as Hispanics are poised to become the majority of Catholic Church in the United States, it is not far-fetched to name her as its favorite model and intercessor.
Of course, substituting the Virgin of Guadalupe for the Immaculate Conception represents no real change at all. Both names point to the same woman, Mary of Nazareth, who trusted the Lord enough to accept the offer of conceiving His Son. If her patronage of the United States is ever recognized, she will not be gratified any more than before. She will always say, as she does to Elizabeth in today’s gospel, that God is the One to whom our attention is due. Or, as she puts it, “’My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.’"