This Dec. 12, many throughout the world will join our Mexican brothers and sisters to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. St. John Paul II named her Mother of the Americas.
Our Lady of Guadalupe came during a time when the indigenous suffered greatly and were in dire need of hope. She appeared to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill. This poor humble servant was chosen by Our Lady of Guadalupe to take a message to his bishop asking that a church be built on that hill. Juan went to the bishop and gave him the message. To confirm that Juan was really seeing the Blessed Mother the Bishop asked Juan to tell Our Lady to give him a sign. Our Lady of Guadalupe asked Juan to collect some of the roses and to take them to the bishop. He did. As he opened his "tilma," cloak the roses fell to the ground and on his tilma appeared the image of our Lady of Guadalupe. Her image has converted and given hope to millions throughout the world.
We pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe for all those who have been risking their lives on the caravan through Mexico asking for asylum or heading toward the United States. These are the Juan Diego's of today. Some of the Catholic churches in Mexico are providing hope to those in the caravan providing a place to eat or rest for a night. Healing the wounds of the feet of many of those walking.
Meet Blanca, whose husband was killed and whose home was taken by gang members in Honduras. She and children have no place to live and have no choice other than to leave. Many are in the same boat and they decide to leave with just the clothes on their back in search of better life. The trip is treacherous. Many can't make it. They don't know when or where they will get their next meal, yet they have faith and trust in God.
It seems that like Juan Diego they are on trial for the faith that they have. Many are turning against them and cry out that there is no room in the inn. Yet they have faith like Juan Diego and that will keep them strong.
To help us refocus, we have been blessed this year with parishioners of SS. Columba-Brigid in downtown Buffalo who have decided to get out of their pews and step onto the stage. They will be acting in a staged reading of the original play "The Trial of Juan Diego." In the play, a child wearing a shirt with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is suspended for violating his public school's secular dress code. The resulting trial depicts a highly emotional fight between Catholics and non-believers, between freedom of religion supporters and proponents for freedom from religion.
Father William "Jud" Weiksnar thought the play would be a great opportunity to get people involved in parish life in a unique and vibrant way. The play is written by local attorney and playwright, Michael Marszalkowski.
I am looking forward to seeing this and invite you to come and bring your family and friends. Three performances will be held: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at St. Anthony Church in Lackawanna. Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., both at SS. Columba-Brigid. The shows are free. A good will offering will be collected.
For more information, call Alba Luz at 716-852-3331.