PRECEDED by a procession of flags from the nations of the Americas and the recitation of the rosary in Spanish, Pope Francis and thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome.
The Argentina-born pope celebrated the December 12 Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America’s indigenous peoples; the principal sung parts of the Mass were from the Misa Criolla, composed 50 years ago by the late Ariel Ramirez.
With St Juan Diego’s vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531, the pope said, Mary “became the great missionary who brought the Gospel to our America.”
In his homily, Pope Francis prayed that Mary would “continue to accompany, assist and protect our peoples” and that she would “lead all the children who are pilgrims on this earth by the hand to an encounter with her son Jesus Christ.”
“Imploring God’s forgiveness and trusting in his mercy,” the pope prayed that God would help the people of Latin America forge a future of hope, development and opportunity for the poor and suffering, “for the humble, for those who hunger and thirst for justice, for the compassionate, the pure of heart, peacemakers and those persecuted for the sake of Christ’s name.”
Mary’s Magnificat, her hymn of praise to God, he said, proclaims that God “overturns ideologies and worldly hierarchies. He raises up the humble, comes to the aid of the poor and the small, and fills with good things, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy.”
Pope Francis said the day’s reading from Psalm 66, with its “plea for forgiveness and the blessing of the peoples and nations and, at the same time, its joyful praise, expresses the spiritual sense of this Eucharistic celebration” in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “for whom devotion extends from Alaska to Patagonia.”
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