.- About 20,000 Phoenix-area Catholics came together on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe and pray the Rosary to her in a variety of languages.
The event, held at Jobing.com Arena, featured many international performers. Alexander Acha, the Irish singer Dana, and Filippa Giordano performed musical tributes to Our Lady. Speakers included actor Eduardo Verástegui, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas Olmsted and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus.
“We might think of Hispanics in the Church in terms of the mythical phoenix,” Anderson told the crowd. “Nearly 500 years after Our Lady of Guadalupe’s transformation of this hemisphere, our Hispanic brothers and sisters represent the rebirth of Catholicism in the United States.”
“Our Lady of Guadalupe points us to her son, but she also points us to unity in her son and for Catholics this unity must transcend borders,” he continued.
The festival also presented the only known relic of the tilma, a cloak on which the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared in 1531. The relic was displayed at Phoenix’s Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude on Sunday. It attracted thousands who came to venerate it.
The full tilma itself is in Mexico City, where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the indigenous Mexican villager St. Juan Diego and left her image on his cloak. The tilma is at the center of one of the most visited shrines in the world.