St. Wenceslaus Parish|
623 Fairchild Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52245
ph: 319-337-4957 fax: 319-337-5822
Vítáme vás u
A Visit from Our
A permanent shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, was established at St. Francis Xavier Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The pastor of this parish is Fr. Quintano. He was present in Mexico City for the canonization of Juan Diego. At that same ceremony, Pope John Paul II blessed a nine foot hand carved wooden statue of Our Lady that was placed in the shrine in Michigan.
We at St. Wenceslaus were blessed to have been chosen as one of only a few host sites and the only one in Iowa. Fr. Quintano arrived in Iowa City on Friday, August 30, 2002. We enshrined the statue in the Sanctuary and had Mass at 4:30 PM that evening. At the end of the Liturgy Fr. Quintano presented St. Weceslaus with a wooden cross and plaque with the picture of Pope John Paul II blessing the statue. St. Wenceslaus is now designated to be the Twelfth Station of the Way of The Cross for future pilgrims to follow.
Following this liturgy, in the spirit of St. Wenceslaus hospitality, we hosted a cookout on the lawn for all Mass attendees. Our celebration continued with a 7:00 PM special prayer service conducted by Fr. Quintano on the meaning of Guadalupe & the importance of St. Juan Diego, the newly canonized saint. We then prayed the rosary and had benediction.
Saturday morning, August 31, we had our regular 7:00 AM Mass with Fr Jose as a concelebrant, with a departure ceremony for those accompanying the statue. It was a unique event as we celebrated our Blessed Mother, Saint Juan Diego and Our Universal Church.
The statue arrived in Grand Rapids on September 7 at 6:30 PM for a dedication where some 2000 people awaited Our Lady. This outdoor liturgy (Mass of the Roses) was celebrated by the Cardinal from Mexico, Bishop Robert Rose and numerous priests. A grand fiesta of food and music followed.
History of Our Lady of Guadalupe
On December 12, 1531, a native peasant named Juan Diego had a religious experience that profoundly affected the development of the Catholic Church in the New World. It occurred as he hurried up Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City on his way to Mass at a Franciscan mission. Suddenly, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared before him. In his vision, she was a young Indian woman, brown and pregnant. As he saw her, she stood in front of the sun, but she did not obliterate its light. Rather, it glowed all around her, illuminating her. Her face radiated compassion, and she spoke to Juan, telling him she was the holy virgin mother of the true God. She told him that she wanted a temple to be built in her honor on the very spot on which she appeared. From the temple, she would help the people. She then sent Juan to the bishop to tell him of her request.
Juan went to the bishop with the message the Virgin gave him, but he was refused admission and sent away. He left feeling sad about failing in his important task. He went back to the hill where he had seen the Virgin, and to his surprise, she came to him again. Juan asked her to please find another more important man to deliver the message, because the bishop would not see him. The Virgin assured him that he, "the smallest of the children," was the one she wanted to bring this powerful message.
Juan went back the bishop, and this time he was finally granted an audience. The bishop asked him many questions, and he told the story of the Virgin, right down to the smallest detail of his experience. The bishop did not believe him and asked for a sign that would prove it was the Virgin who had sent him.
Juan went back to the hill, where Mary appeared to him once again. He explained that the bishop wanted proof in the form of some kind of a sign. She told him to come back the next day and promised to give him proof. The next day Juan was detained due to the illness of his uncle. He was rushing to get the priest, and in his hurry, decided to not stop at the place where he had seen the apparition. As he passed by the place, Mary called out to him. He was embarrassed, but he stopped. She told him that his uncle would recover and that she would have a sign for him at the top of the hill. He went where she directed him to go and was astounded by what he found. There were exquisite roses where they should not be growing at this time of year. She told him to gather the roses inside his cloak and to show no one but the bishop. He went to the bishop, and at first his servants ignored Juan.
Eventually, the aroma of the roses began to spread throughout the office, and they went to tell the bishop something unusual was happening. Juan was invited in, and the bishop asked to see what he was holding inside his cloak. As Juan opened his cloak, beautiful roses of many varieties and colors spilled out onto the floor. The bishop was amazed. But perhaps even more astonishing was the exact image of the Virgin that had been imprinted on Juan's cloak. The bishop fell to his knees in prayer.
The Lady's dress was a pale red, the color of the blood sacrifices of the old religion and the color of the blood of the people that had been spilled by the conquerors. Red is also the color of the East, and it represented new beginnings to the people. Her blue mantle told them she was of royal descent, possibly a deity. The stars in her mantle echoed the prophecy given ten years earlier that told of a comet signaling the end of their civilization. Perhaps most significant was the black maternity band stretched across her belly, in the center of which was the Aztec cross. The Lady was clearly offering her child to the New World.
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