Students gathered for the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass Wednesday in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, worshiping in both English and Spanish to honor the saint.
Latinos Unidos, Latino Leadership Program and Campus Ministry sponsored the Mass.
Cantor of Wednesday’s Mass and junior Mauricio Carranza is from Mexico, where Our Lady is said to have appeared to Juan Diego nearly 500 years ago.
“It’s a sense of giving us pride of saying we’re worth something to someone, and that’s the reason why a lot of people go to Mass on this day,” Carranza said.
The Rev. Hugo Montero celebrated Mass Wednesday and encouraged students to act on Mary’s call for evangelization.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe becomes the agent of change in our community,” Montero said.
Sophomore Teresa Wolfgram celebrates the feast day because she believes Our Lady is the mother of all nations.
“Hearing the Mass in Spanish helped me to see the universality of the Church,” Wolfgram said.
Sophomore Molly Behun also attended the Mass.
“It actually really helped me focus in on what the words of the Mass actually meant,” Behun said. “The Mass in Spanish made me appreciate how beautiful the words of the Mass really are.”
Church tradition is that Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, telling him to tell the bishop to build a church at the top of Mexico City in order to convert the Aztec people. Our Lady placed roses on Diego’s tilma (also known as a cloak).
When Diego went to the Bishop, he did not believe him, but once Diego opened the cloak and the roses fell, an image of Our Lady appeared on the tilma, the bishop believed and built the church.
That image of Mary is still fully intact on the tilma and scientists still can’t explain why it has not faded away.
Junior Angela Deeney said the story of Our Lady shows how God and Mary are for all people.
“If we want to share something we believe, we have to understand different cultures and where they’re coming from and their mentalities,” Deeney said. “That’s how you reach out to them.”
Two years ago, Deeney visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see the icon of Mary on the tilma.
Deeney said she views the image as a sign of hope.
“It was just really cool to see how vivid and clear it was after how many environmental hazards have happened to it and how really unexplainable it is that it’s still there,” Deeney said.
Deeney also said she was impressed by how many people converted to Catholicism after the vision.
“Before Juan Diego there had been so much attempt from missionaries outside to convert the Aztec people without any success,” Deeney said. “Shortly after this event, 9 million Mexicans converted to Catholicism; shows that it’s more than just a story that was told.”
Montero encouraged students to visit the shrine in Mexico.
“Seeing the evidence of a true miracle there would help students,” Montero said.
Campus Ministry also partnered with The View to have a special Mexican menu Wednesday including enchiladas, tacos, rice and refried beans.
Caroline Rode can be reached at email@example.com.