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Festival enriches religious heritage – Locals honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

By Staff | Dec 11, 2007

ESTHERVILLE–Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of not only Mexico, but all of North America. This past Sunday, Hispanic parishioners at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Estherville honored the blessed virgin mother who appeared to Juan Diego, a humble messenger, nearly 500 years ago.

Joined by fellow dancers from Fairmont, Minn., celebrants re-created the ceremony in which Juana Diego brought the Blessed Mother’s message of hope to the people of Mexico. After dancing and paying homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe, everyone enjoyed a potluck of authentic Mexican food. Their colorful costumes, plumage and drums evoked images of a Mexico prior to Christianity’s presence in the country.

In 1531 the blessed mother appeared to a villager at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of the current site of Mexico City. She revealed herself as the virgin Holy Mary and requested that a church be built at the site.

The Bishop asked for a sign, and the Holy Mother sent Juan Diego to the top of the hill in the middle of December to gather roses for the Bishop. Holy Mary also left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on his tilma, a poor quality cactus cloth which normally deteriorates in 20 years. That same tilma exists today, 476 years later, showing no signs of deterioration.

Many miracles and cures are credited to Holy Mary. Each year, 14 million pilgrims visit her basilica. To date, 25 popes have honored Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The official Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated Wednesday.

Contact Michael Tidemann at (712) 362-2622 or mtidemann@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com