Our Lady’s blessings sought for family, friends, enemies, and ourselves
As it has for the past several years, the sanctuary of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish – the largest church in the archdiocese — was filled to capacity for the Federation of Guadalupanos Feast Day celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 2.
Activities began a half hour before the liturgy was dancing by matachines from Our Lady of Lourdes/Tepeyac Grotto at Oblate School of Theology, as well as a banner procession and presentations of roses which were placed in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In his homily, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, lamented that we are living in a time of chaos and confusion about what is happening in our world and the Church — a time of anxiety about the future. He mentioned the dire warnings about a warming global climate that will affect millions of people — daily reports of violence, displacement of peoples from their homes and homelands, millions of refugees living under horrendous conditions. The archbishop acknowledged, “We bring our fears and anxieties before the throne of God today.”
“On the first Sunday of Advent, the Church calls us to remember and to hope, as a new year of grace begins,” Archbishop Gustavo exclaimed. “As we prepare for the coming of the Lord, Pope Francis reminds us that ‘the heart of Christmas is hope.’”
The readings at the liturgy told of the prophet Jeremiah, the apostle Paul, and the Lord Jesus himself.
“Jeremiah tells us to remember the promises made by God to the people of Israel. The prophet assures us that God is faithful. Salvation will be given to us, the new people of God. While Jeremiah does not name the redeemer, he is Jesus,” the Missionary of the Holy Spirit explained. “In him, our hope for future blessings is assured. In him, God’s Word has already come to dwell among us. The risen Lord remains in our midst. The Holy Spirit is at work among and within us!”
In the second reading, St. Paul called on the faithful to remember their baptism, the instructions that prepared all to live a Christian life as a missionary disciple of the risen Lord. “We also recall the truths of the Catholic faith that we are expected to believe,” stressed the San Antonio prelate. “This is the best way, the apostle tells us, to keep alive within our hearts the hope that we shall be ready to meet the Lord when he comes in glory.”
That day of the Lord’s coming as described in the Gospel might easily fill readers with terror. “However, the underlying message of the gospel is that we are to remember to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man through watchfulness, virtuous living, and prayer,” the archbishop emphasized. “In that way we shall be able to life our heads in hope, confident of the deliverance that will be ours if we have been faithful to the Lord.”
Archbishop Gustavo concluded with the message that, because of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s abiding presence and maternal love, we face the future with hope despite its many obstacles and difficulties. “Our devotion to la Morenita also means that we are to be the agents of unity, mercy, and compassion among all of God’s children,” he closed. “Dear Mary, show us the way!”
Following the homily, the liturgy featured the consecration of two families to Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with the coronation of a statue of the Blessed Mother by a group of youth.
New officers for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors for the Federation of Guadalupanos were installed prior to the conclusion of the liturgy. They include: Msgr. Kevin Ryan, spiritual director; President Elvira Cantú Arrieta from Prince of Peace Church; First Vice President Sovatha (Sofie) Curiel from St. Dominic Church; Second Vice President Frances Guzman from St. Paul Church; Secretary Lorena De Hoyos-Gutiérrez from the Church of the Holy Spirit; and Treasurer Calie Avila from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Photo: Xavier Ramirez for Today’s Catholic Newspaper