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Celebration to Our Lady of Guadalupe begins Saturday at Mexican-American museum

Celebration to Our Lady of Guadalupe begins Saturday at Mexican-American museum

The public is invited to a celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Mexican-American Heritage and History Museum on Saturday, Dec. 14.

The museum is located at the downtown historic Sosa-Carrillo House, 151 S. Granada Ave., nestled between the exhibition hall and the music hall.

Los Descendientes del Presidio de Tucsón, or the Descendants of Tucson’s Presidio, will host the tribute to the Virgin Mary, who is the co-patroness of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. She was seen as a unifying symbol for the Western Hemisphere by Pope John Paul II.

The faithful turn to her for guidance and strength to confront daily struggles and for social justice causes.

In 1945, Pope Piux XII proclaimed her the Empress of the Americas, and she has a large devotion among Hispanics, and a growing devotion among non-Latinos.

In a 2007 Star article, the now Monsignor Raúl Trevizo, who is diocesan episcopal vicar for Hispanic ministry, said, “Our Lady of Guadalupe reveals herself as the mother of God to all people on this continent. Her face is an amalgamation of all the human race, and she reveals the love of God through the kindness and gentleness of her face.”

The faithful believe the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec who converted to Catholicism, in several visions on the outskirts of Mexico City in 1531.

Mary spoke to Juan Diego in Náhuatl, his native language. She asked him to go see the bishop of Mexico City and tell him to build a church in her honor on a nearby spot, Tepeyac Hill.

Juan Diego obeyed but could not persuade the bishop. Discouraged, he told the Blessed Mother that he was unsuccessful and that she should send someone else. But Mary sent him back again.

Juan Diego went, and the bishop told him to bring back a sign. He reported this to Mary and she directed him to the top of the hill, where he found roses growing despite the winter cold.

He picked the roses and wrapped them in his cloak, or tilma. When he presented the roses to the bishop, they discovered that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe had appeared on the cloak. The bishop immediately began to work to build the church.

The tilma is on display under bulletproff glass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The basilica attracts about 20 million visitors a year, and 30 Masses are celebrated there daily.

The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Dec. 12, and the feast day of St. Juan Diego is Dec. 9. He was declared a saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.

Raúl Ramirez, a member of Los Descendientes, said during the celebration the public is invited to bring statues and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with petitions and flowers, to place on altars in her honor at the museum.

During Saturday’s celebration, a blessing will be held at 3 p.m. and activities will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Mariachis will serenade Our Lady of Guadalupe throughout the afternoon and early evening, and Aztec and folklorico dancers will also pay tribute.

Traditional foods and drinks will be served. Donations will be accepted to help support the museum.

The public can view the exhibit of Our Lady of Guadalupe during museum hours — Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar

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Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.

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