December 12 is the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas,
and the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous People
The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearances to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Coo owt lat wat zin, meaning “the talking eagle”), a member of the Chichimeca people living in what is now a part of Mexico City, shows how God is glorified by the humble who live to serve God and neighbour. St. Juan Diego had already been baptized when the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him, but through his openness and acceptance of the Christian message, and while retaining his indigenous identity, he became the sign of, and catalyst for, how Christ can be brought to every race and culture. Appropriately, then, this day is also in the Catholic Church in Canada a National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.
“All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love, and peace.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen”
Taken from Laudato Si by Pope Francis
Saint John Paul II reminds us that there can be, “No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness.”
The discovery by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of the 215 unmarked graves and further grave discoveries at other former residential schools, has given rise to much sorrow and anguish of knowing that Catholics were among those who ran residential schools established by the federal government that operated in this country from the 1870s until the late 1990s.
Pope Francis reminds us that ‘forgiveness’ is not temporary or shallow. As he states in Fratelli Tutti2: Forgiving does not mean forgetting… Free and heartfelt forgiveness is something noble, a reflection of God’s own infinite ability to forgive…Those who truly forgive do not forget. Instead, they…choose not to yield to the same destructive force that caused them so much suffering.”
We often have such a hard time finding and seeing God. In response to the question, why do you ask where God is, a Tlicho Dene woman once commented that we should look around, despite all the violence on the earth, it continues to provide for us. Our mother continues to provide for us, and gives us everything. The insight of one Dene Elder is that the Creator shows us the way to healing. The Land is always giving back. Our parents and grandparents are people who have given their lives for us. We have made many mistakes. But there has been someone who has given His life for us. We have been forgiven many times by the blood of Jesus Christ. The privilege of our humanity carries with it the great responsibility of the respect and care of our brothers and sisters – especially those who deal with obstacles, injustices, or other barriers to their human freedom and blessedness.
“Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!” (Ezekiel 18:31)
(From the Reflection for the National Day of Prayer In Solidarity With Indigenous Peoples 2021)
Here are some ways we as worshippers and as communities can observe and honour the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe
and the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous People.
Parish Evening Prayer Service
“Eternal God As we celebrate this Feast for Our Lady of Guadalupe
we honour the holiness and glory of Mary.
With her guidance, Grant us the grace of opening our lives
To all that you would call us to be.”
From the Evening Prayer Service for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
View or Download Full Prayer Service Here:
Prayer for Home, Family or Small Group Reflection
“We gather on this Third Sunday of Advent to remember that we are a people waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We rejoice that Jesus has promised to return again to bring to fulfillment the kingdom of God he proclaimed and inaugurated in his first coming among us. We long for the peace, justice, and unity of all peoples that marks this reign of God, and we pledge to be watchful and ready witnesses to Jesus Christ our Saviour as we look for his return.” If the family or group has an Advent wreath, three candles may now be lit.
View or Download Full Prayer Reflection Here
Our Lady of Guadalupe Colouring Page from Loyola Press
Watch The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe