CEBU City, Jan. 26, 2016 – Speaking with a poster of Our Lady of Guadalupe covering his podium, the chaplain of the National Shrine of St. Juan Diego in Mexico called on thousands of 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) delegates on Jan. 26 to be the face of “our dear Lady of Guadalupe” in the world.
“We want to be the sweet face of the little virgin. How do we do this?,” said Msgr. Diego Monroy Ponce, one of the speakers of the IEC’s Jan. 26 concurrent sessions.
According to the Episcopal and General Vicar of Guadalupe, “task of being the sweet and gentle face of our dear Lady of Guadalupe” means to “let all people know about Jesus Christ.”
It is because of the Virgin Mary, the priest explained, that the faithful “believe again in the revolutionary aspect of tenderness.”
Ponce, who heads the Pastoral Liturgy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also assured all present about their intimate ties with the Blessed Virgin.
“To my brothers and sisters who are pilgrims here, you also are Guadalupans. In you flows the blood of this precious Lady,” he said during his talk on “Evangelization and Popular Religiosity” at the IEC Pavilion.
20 million visitors
“[Our Lady of Guadalupe is] our Mother, Mother of all men, of all those who are here together as one, as has already been for many centuries. We were born in her lap and we bear the blood of this sweet Lady,” stressed Ponce.
According to him, the fact that the site of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalulpe to Juan Diego in 1531 on Tepeyac hill draws some 20 million people yearly, excluding tourists, while only 6 million people visit the Vatican annually is already a testament to the power of popular religion, specifically of the Marian devotion.
“It is the most visited [ place] in the Christian world, as I have pointed out,” said Ponce.
For 24 years, I’ve been coming to the sanctuary of Guadalupe as the one responsible for the preaching there and I am witness of the many religious expressions that aim to be simple and straight forward, not overly intellectual … not with great discursive methods.” (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)