Of special prominence in the church is the shrine for Our Lady of Guadalupe to the left of the sanctuary. The large wooden cabinet has columns of intricate carvings of roses, scrollwork and keys and holds a beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego that is now enshrined in the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special attraction to people of Mexican descent, as 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.