To honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, on her feast today, Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass tonight in St. Peter’s Basilica featuring hymns from the “Misa Criolla” written by an Argentinian composer.
As today marks the the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the first Pope to hail from the Americas will pay her special tribute by presiding over a special Mass which will be in Spanish and will feature Creole music.
Hymns from the “Misa Criolla” by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez, whose performance will be directed by his son, Facundo Ramírez, will be sung by an Argentinian musical group and accompanied by a Roman choir, called “Musica Nuova.”
The concelebrants are to include Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Cardinal Norbert Rivera Carrera of Mexico City; Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida; Cardinal Seàn Patrick O’Malley of Boston; and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop-emeritus of Santiago.
Pope Benedict XVI also celebrated a Mass with Creole music in the basilica for the same Marian Feast in 2011.
The German Pope presided over the Mass which also commemorated the bicentennial of the emancipation process that occurred between 1808 and 1824 and culminated in Latin American countries proclaiming independence.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City is the world’s most visited Catholic site, and also the world’s third-most visited sacred site.
The history of the miracles of Our Lady of Guadalupe began on the morning of December 9, 1531, in Mexico.
At the Hill of Tepeyac, which would later become the town of Villa de Guadalupe in the suburbs of Mexico City, a young man, Juan Diego, saw an apparition of a maiden. Speaking to him in the native language, she asked that a church be built at that site in her honor.
After speaking with her, Juan Diego realized the maiden was the Virgin Mary and recounted the events on the hill to the Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga. The archbishop told Juan Diego to return to the site and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her identity.
The healing of Juan’s sick uncle was the first of her signs.
More than this, she gave Juan Diego instructions to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. There he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming in December on the normally barren hilltop.
The Virgin arranged the flowers in his tilma or cloak. On December 12, When Juan Diego opened his cloak before Bishop Zumárraga, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Following this miraculous encounter, the tilma with the image Our Lady left of herself has become one of the most popular religious and cultural symbol of the Americas.