LOS ANGELES, AUG. 8, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On Sunday, thousands gathered at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a Guadalupe Celebration hosted by the Knights of Columbus, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Institute for Guadalupan Studies.
The Guadalupe Celebration brought together Catholics from across the 5-million member archdiocese, as well as faithful from other areas of Southern California and beyond. The gathering was seen as a opportunity to come together to celebrate and honor the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared to St. Juan Diego more than 500 years ago in Mexico. The event further served as a lead-up to the Knights’ 130th Supreme Convention, under way now in Anaheim.
The Guadalupe convention featured prayer, sacred song, contemporary Christian music, traditional Mexican performances, faith talks, inspirational witnesses along with a time to venerate the tilma relic of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The relic is a 1-inch-square piece of the tilma on which a miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted when she appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac in 1531. The relic was a gift from the Archdiocese of Mexico City to then Archbishop John Cantwell in gratitude for the 1941 pilgrimage by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in support of the Church in Mexico. The relic is enshrined in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and was presented at the Guadalupe Celebration as a special loan from Archbishop José Gómez.
Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, was one of the keynote speakers at the event. Stressing the importance of the Guadalupe message, Anderson highlighted the importance of the family as the cornerstone of humanity. “As sons and daughters of Our Lady of Guadalupe, it is up to each of us to make sure that this cornerstone instills values that we can be proud of. The family is where our children learn from their mothers and fathers what life is all about. The family is where the next generation is given the tools to live a life of Catholic virtue,” he said.
Anderson also called on those present at the event to follow the example of the Virgin of Guadalupe and to defend those who are defenseless, stressing that this must include everyone. “It must include the immigrant. It must include the unborn child. It must include the disabled person,” he stressed.
The head of the Knights of Columbus concluded his speech with the same rally cry uttered by the martyrs of Mexico, who died defending religious liberty in the country: “Viva Santa María de Guadalupe!”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of Anderson’s talk: www.zenit.org/article-35328?l=english