Following the opening sessions of the International Marian Congress in Phoenix, Arizona, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut and Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus William Lori led participants in a Marian meditation, reflecting on how Mary continues visit her children and bring Christ to them today, as she did when she appeared to Juan Diego in 1531.
Bishop Lori began by recalling the Visitation saying that “from the very moment the Virgin Mary learned that her cousin, Elizabeth, was with child, Mary hastened through the hill country to be with her.”
While Mary visits her children constantly, there are other times when, “in God’s providential love, her presence is seen and felt,” recalled Bishop Lori before mentioning Marian apparitions in Lourdes, France and Fatima, Portugal.
“Yet it was Mary’s visitation to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill that, in many ways, was most like her original visit to Elizabeth,” he explained. “Just as Mary had journeyed through the hill country to see Elizabeth, so now she journeyed through the hill country of Mexico to see a poor campesino of no standing. Like Eliazbeth, her aged cousin who was with child, Juan Diego also needed help, not only because he was poor but indeed because his uncle was gravely ill.”
Bishop Lori also explained that Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego brought Jesus to the Americas.
“As in the original visitation, Mary appears to Juan Diego bearing a child in her womb. She has come to bring the Lord Jesus not merely to a single dwelling but indeed to the Americas – thus giving birth to a new world of faith. In bringing Jesus to the Americas she gave birth to a new people, indeed a new race called ‘la raza mestiza’ – weaving together the Spanish and Indian cultures.”
“She appears in this form before this new race was widespread and in this way Our Lady of Guadalupe made the faith accessible both to the Spanish in the colonies and to the natives. After her visitation, the Americas were finally evangelized, as massive numbers of people came to know Christ and became member of His Body the Church.”
“Now Mary has visited us again,” said Bishop Lori, bringing his presentation to a close. “She comes to us here as a loving mother, seeking to bring forth Christ in us, seeking to make us his agents of evangelization, seeking to make us ardent defenders of life, seeking to draw us ever more deeply into the orbit of Trinitarian love.”
The Marian Congress began on August 6 and will run until August 8. It is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Institute of Guadalupan Studies.