In a Mass celebrating the feast of St. Juan Diego, the Archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, blessed the first stone that will be used to build a new shrine dedicated to the Indian saint who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
During his homily Cardinal Rivera recalled some of the more important aspects of the process of canonization of St. Juan Diego which can be found in historical documents dating back to1666. The Cardinal said they prove the existence of Juan Diego and show that his holiness was acknowledged by many Indians.
Several local and federal government officials attended the celebration, as well as many representatives of the indigenous communities of the country, who offered prayers for all the indigenous peoples of America.
According to the rector, Fr. José Antonio Vallejo, the new shrine for Juan Diego will be especially dedicated to the indigenous peoples, making all of the sacraments and religious ceremonies (baptisms, quinceañeras, etc.) freely available to them.
Referring to Juan Diego, Fr. Vallejo said the presence of Catholics of indigenous descent “helps us see that the divine grace which Juan Diego received in baptism and developed in his life, rather than canceling them out, made the seeds God had planted in his heart and in the hearts of his people since before the arrival of the Gospel become fruitful and blossom.”
“His Christian holiness was deeply rooted in his Mexican Indian identity, which was demonstrated by the fact that many virtues which he exercised during his encounter with our Blessed Mother, such as love, gentleness, obedience, promptness and discretion, were a direct result of his Indian upbringing,” he concluded.