.- Following the Knights of Columbus 127th Convention next year, the organization will hold its First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe. The congress, which will conclude with a festival, will feature talks by experts from around the U.S. and Latin American on Our Lady.
The event is scheduled to take place August 6 – 8, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, reports the Knights of Columbus and is expected to attract nearly 20,000 from the United States and Mexico.
"The centrality of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Americas as 'the Christian Hemisphere' is clearly evident throughout North and South America," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who will speak both at the Marian Congress and at the Guadalupe Festival. "Her message today is one that has as much importance and meaning today as it did nearly 500 years ago."
The event is co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Center for Guadalupan Studies.
The lectures at the congress will focus on the meaning of the message of Our Lady, some of the scientifically inexplicable aspects of the image and the relevance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in today's world. Speakers include Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann from Peru, who has done extensive studies of the reflections in the image's eyes; Rev. Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego - the Indian to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in December 1531; and other experts on key elements of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message.
The Guadalupe Festival will feature an afternoon of music, prayer and inspiration speeches. Appearing will be best-selling author Imaculee Ilibagiza, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Special invited guest speakers include actor Eduardo Verastegui. Performers at the festival will include Irish singer Dana, a mariachi band and matachin dancers.
A schedule and more information are available at www.guadalupefestival.org.