Our Lady of Guadalupe — Holy Cross Church, West Sacramento

There are three beautiful images of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the church. To the left of the sanctuary near the side entrance is a large and beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe; and another mosaic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located in the left rear corner of the nave. The third can be found in the vestibule.

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is known to many – she appeared to a native villager, now Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City in December 1531. In Our Lady’s appearances, she expressed her continual motherly compassion and also asked Juan Diego to petition the local bishop to have a church built on the site of her appearances in acknowledgement of the Mother of the True God. Juan Diego was able to overcome the bishop’s inaction for construction when the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on his tilma (mantle/cloak) as Juan Diego was presenting Castilian roses to the bishop. A church was built on the hill by the bishop, and gradually enlarged over the years as many people came to venerate Our Lady under this important title in Mexico and throughout the world. A much larger church was built nearby in 1709 and was designated as a basilica by Pope Pius X in 1904. However, the “Old Basilica” became dangerous as the foundations were sinking and a New Basilica was completed next to it in 1976 and attracts millions of visitors and pilgrims each year.

The shrine in Holy Cross Church bears the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was imprinted on the tilma of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin that is now enshrined in the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. This image in Holy Cross Church is an official digital replica authorized in 1999 by the Archbishop Primate of Mexico as evidenced by the signature of Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishopric Primate of Mexico in the lower right-hand corner of the image. The digital image is an exact-size and color replica of the original miraculous image which depicts Our Lady with the complexion of the indigenous people and eyes cast humbly downward as a sign of her humility and humanity. With hands folded in prayer and offering, her gaze of compassion reflects her words to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531, “Am I not your Mother?” She wears a cloak of turquoise-blue covered with golden stars as she stands atop a crescent moon; behind her, rays of the sun penetrate into the sky-blue background. This symbolism is representative of her heavenly nature and her superiority to the Aztec gods of the sun and moon. She is held aloft by an angel with wings similar to eagle’s wings used in Aztec iconography. Around her midsection is a black ribbon reflecting that she is pregnant. In addition to this specific symbolism, the image reflects the text in Revelation 12:1-2, “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.” This beautiful replica image was brought to the church from the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City by Father Jacobo Caceres. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is housed in sturdy dark wood cabinet with side sconces filled with bunches of roses and is a lovely spot for contemplation of this replica rendition of the patroness of Mexico, of the Americas and the Diocese of Sacramento (along with Saint Patrick).

Another image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that originated closer to home is located in the rear of the church. An intricate mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe made of colorful tiles was created in 1970 by the 8th grade pupils of Holy Cross School under the supervision of Sister M. Colette, S.M. The gorgeous stylized image glows from the wood frame with brilliant golden rays of the sun from behind the turquoise-blue mantle studded with golden stars. This attractive version captures the compassionate humility of Our Mother and attracts many to pray for her intercession.

A third image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located in the entry vestibule of the church. The five-foot statue is used for processions during Our Lady’s Feast Day on December 12th.

References

Dan Lynch Apostolates -https://www.jkmi.com/what-s-so-special-about-the-missionary-image Accessed 12-14-2020

USA Today – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/11/history-basilica-our-lady-guadalupe/80256262/ Accessed 12-16-2020

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