This time in the new basilica of the Guadalupe Shrine, where the famous image of Our Lady is housed, the Holy Mass was celebrated on the 5th of November 2015 the day of the Central America Organization Committee of the Peregrination meeting. It was early morning, a similar time when St. Juan Diego met Our Lady Mary on his way to the town. The Icon was placed in the Presbytery. However the place is so big that it was difficult to catch both images together with a camera.
The Mass was attended by all the people involved in the Icon`s peregrination in Mexica, and the representative from Colombia. There were also Polish Pallotine priests from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Tenango, about 40 km from the capital. They were accompanied by the sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother in white frocks and blue coats. There were also Mexicans who had come mainly from the capital. Europe was represented by Ewa and Lech Kowalewski from Poland and Marcela and Peter Dobeš from Slovakia.
The religious beliefs of Mexican people are based first of all on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which has not been made by a human hand. One can say that this is a mysterious image of Mary, who is looking from under Her lowered eyelids, and Her eyes are still alive, which has been confirmed by amazed scientists. It is She who came to the lonely Indians, took them under Her protection and led to Her Son. One of the mysteries of this unique image is the fact, that it is both an icon and an Aztec code, whose message has been in the past and is now easy to understand both for the Latino and European people. When, in the 16th century, Our Lady appeared, 9 millions of Indians asked to be baptized taking the missionaries by surprise. The miracle has continued till today. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is everywhere. They venerate Her, come to Her, bring their new-born children, entrust their problems and worries.
This was a third meeting at the Shrine of the Mother of Both Americas and the Great Defender of Life. The Czestochowa Icon is historically a much older image, according to tradition written by St. Luke the Evangelist on the table from the house of the Holy Family from Nazareth. Our Lady has a dark brown face and is even called the Black Madonna. Therefore She can be called, like the One from the image of Guadalupe, Morenita, i.e. having a red-brown face, just like the face of Indian women. This is what She is called in Mexico. They understand here and venerate as the Mom of St. John Paul II, who is much loved by the Mexicans.
The Mother of God has many images, just like every mother in a family album. And although people get attached to their own “home” image, it does not change the fact, that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is one, and through Her different portraits and statues, venerated in different nations and cultures, She always manifests Her unique presence. And this is what She does through both famous images, the one from Guadalupe, and the one from Czestochowa.
The first visit of the Czestochowa Icon at the Guadalupe Shrine took place just after Her arrival in Mexico a year earlier. The main celebration then was held at the so called Old Basilica. There were many people and a big group of Poles. The visit in the New Basilica was an unofficial one.
The second, the most important meeting of the two Morenitas took place on the Palm Sunday 2015. It was an official ending of the pro-life action “40 Days for Life”. The prayer has lasted for 40 days and nights, also in the streets, in front of abortion clinics. The solemn Holy Mass was celebrated by cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the archbishop of Mexico, assisted by cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the chairman emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as well as by a few hundred priests from all over the world.
The New Basilica was full. The Czestochowa Icon was then placed near the pendant tilma of St. Juan Diego with the image of the Virgin.
At the third time the Committee members placed the Icon in the presbytery and attended the morning Holy Mass with joy. The New Basilica in Guadalupe is an enormous church, able to accommodate 20 thousand people. It has also got its unique atmosphere. It is visited by 20 million people a year, which makes it the biggest Marian shrine in the world. Although the presbytery is very big, everyone can see the image of Our Lady which has been hanged high. At the sides baskets of flowers constantly brought by the faithful are placed. The upper lighting resembles pieces of honeycombs. At the back of the presbytery there is an entrance to the crypt, where by means of a moving passage one can get nearer to the image.
After the Eucharist the Committee members carried the Icon to the beautiful, big statue of St. John Paul II, which is placed between the Old and New Basilica. The Holy Father invites people to meet the Mother of God with a pointing hand. This is a favorite place of many Mexican families, who come here to take a picture or simple to sit down and talk. The Czestochowa Icon stood in front of the statue. To thank Mary for Her presence in Mexico the song of “Black Madonna” was sung in Polish and Spanish. The band run by Marta and Antonio Bunco Kemp had prepared a new version of this song in Spanish “Madonna Negra”. It sounds beautiful, perhaps even better than in Polish. The music and lyrics encourage people and everyone wants to join the singing, and even dancing as it is typical for the spirit and custom of the Latino people. The sisters dressed the Icon in their convent blue coat, thus inviting Her to come to their place. Who knows, perhaps this invitation will come true, as it seems likely that Our Lady will stop at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Tenango once again. The congregation renewed the Act of Entrustment to Our Lady in Spanish. It must be stressed that the coordinators of the Mexican peregrination attach great importance to this issue and thanks to that the Act is said at every place the Icon visits. Everywhere they also distribute the image of Our Lady, Jesus of the Divine Mercy and the text of the Act of Entrustment.