August 26, 2022

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Sam Rasp

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Star of the New Evangelization

Sam RaspTwenty-three years ago, Pope St. John Paul II declared that, in every Church in the Americas, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe would be celebrated. This was because she is the Patroness, the Evangelizer, and the Mother of the Americas. He went on to say that it was through her intercession that the new evangelization would “yield a splendid flowering of Christian life” in the Americas. She is, therefore, the Star of the New Evangelization.

Many know the name Our Lady of Guadalupe, but they don’t know the beautiful and supernatural story behind it.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name given to a specific appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a peasant farmer, now known as St. Juan Diego, in December of 1531.

Juan Diego was born an Aztec and was converted, along with his wife, by Franciscan missionaries. Two years after the death of his wife, Juan Diego was in route to a Franciscan missionary church for Mass when he started hearing the most beautiful music coming from the top of Tepeyac Hill.

As he climbed to the top of this hill, he encountered Our Lady, whose appearance was that of a pregnant virgin Aztec princess. Though scared, he heard this beautiful woman telling him she was the Mother of God. She instructed Juan Diego to visit the bishop and get his approval to build a chapel in her honor, which the bishop rejected twice.

The third time Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, she instructed him to carry flowers from the hill to the bishop using his tilma, which would be the sign the bishop was requesting.

When Juan arrived to see the bishop, he released the flowers onto the floor revealing a miraculous image of a beautiful woman on the tilma. From that moment on, the bishop believed Juan Diego and immediately set out to build a chapel on Tepeyac Hill in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Today, millions from all over the world travel to visit the Basilica in Mexico City and pray with this tilma.

Our Lady of Guadalupe’s desire to make her Son known to all people is the heart of evangelization and the reason Pope St. John Paul II made her the Star of the New Evangelization. Eighteen years prior to appearing to St Juan Diego, Europe was in turmoil with the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. As many people were leaving the Church in Europe, millions of native people in the Americas were joining the Catholic Church. As more people witnessed the miracle of the image on St Juan Diego’s tilma, more were coming to know the Lord.

When in doubt, the best advice I offer to others is to turn to Mary. She truly desires to bring each and every one of us to her Son.

Through Our Lady of Guadalupe, we have a physical sign of God’s love for all of us and his desire that we evangelize with her image on the impenetrable tilma.

Just like in her words to St Juan Diego that day almost 500 years ago, she is our mother who wants nothing more than to bring us to her Son.

(Sam Rasp is coordinator of evangelization and discipleship for the archdiocese’s Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization. For resources that can help create a culture of evangelization in your parish, contact him at †

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