DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     December 15, 1998     vol. 9, no. 242

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          Mexico City, 13 (NE) Along Friday and Saturday, more than three million pilgrims arrived at the Basilica of Guadalupe to pray before the image of the Virgin of the Tepeyac on the 467 anniversary of her appearances to the Blessed Juan Diego. As every year, a few minutes before the 12th, the pilgrims sang the "mañanitas" to the Virgin -a typical mexican song which is used to receive a special day-, greeting her in this way for her new anniversary and also expressing their gratefulness for her constant intercession.

          The traditional story of the appearances of the Virgin of Guadalupe goes back to the year 1531, when the Indian Juan Diego was in his way to participate of the Holy Mass. On his way he listened a voice that called him in his native language: «Juanito, Juan Diego ...I much desire that here they build me my sacred house». The Lady who appeared to Juan Diego then sent him to see the Bishop of Mexico to complete her desire. Two days after when he was looking for a priest that could aid his uncle who was badly sick, Juan Diego was called again by the Virgin. The Virgin said to Juan Diego not to worry, for his uncle would not die, as he had already been cured. Then the Indian requested her for the sign that he should take to the Bishop. Mary told him to go to the top of the hill, where he found some roses. Juan Diego cut as many roses as he could and took them to the Bishop. When opening his cloak in front of Bishop Fray Juan of Zumarraga it was discovered that the Virgin of the Tepeyac had formed her image on it.

          One of the aspects that have always attracted the attention is that the «tilma» doesn't seem colored, but impregnated of color. Doctor Ricardo Kuhn in 1936, being manager of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, wanted to determine the nature of the pigments reaching the conclusion that there are no vegetable colorings, animals, or minerals that could give place to those combinations. Another characteristic that a surprise is that it doesn't present paintbrush prints. From 1531, Juan Diego's cloak was placed in a hermitage, to be transferred two years later to the first sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In 1709 the building of the «old Basilica» was finished which welcomed the cloak up to 1976, year in which the current Basilica was consecrated.

Article above provided by Noticias Eclesiales at Church News Noticias Eclesiales is not affiliated with the DAILY CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the DAILY CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 15, 1998       volume 9, no. 242


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