Posts Tagged ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’

A War For Women

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

In this week’s Catholic New York columnI wrote about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the importance of women in the Catholic Church.  I thought you might want to read it.

Here is an excerpt:

If there is a “war on women,” those who defend the bond of marriage and the sanctity of the family (realizing that women are the ones usually left shattered and financially strapped by shattered marriages); those who believe that abortion is destructive of baby, mother, and father; those who hold that all God’s children, male and female, are made in God’s image, and thus deserve dignity and respect; those who sacrifice to run the world’s most effective projects of health care and education for women (led, for the most part, by generous, faithful women); and those thought idolatrous for placing a woman named Mary at the center of history, are hardly on the wrong side, but the right side, of such an alleged battle!

In two weeks, 75 percent of the world will come to a stop to celebrate a mother and the birth of her baby. Millions of children will point to the newborn baby in nativity scenes throughout the world and ask, “Who’s that?” and parents and grandparents will whisper, “That’s Jesus, our Lord and Savior.” Then they’ll point to Mary and inquire, “And who’s that?” and the answer will come, “That’s His mother, without whom Christmas could not have happened.”

A blessed Advent!

You can read my whole column here.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Haga clic aquí para leer mi blog en español.

This past weekend, I was honored to join hundreds of other pastoral leaders from North and South America for a moving Pilgrimage and Encounter at the Shrine of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

It was a grace for me.  For one, I enjoy visiting any sanctuary where Our Lady has appeared, such as Lourdes, Fatima, or Knock.

Two, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is patroness of all America . . . that’s us!

Three, our Mexican-American Catholics, now such a vibrant part of our national Catholic makeup, have a deep and passionate devotion to her.  December 12, her feast day, has become a huge fiesta for all of us in our liturgical year.

Finally, my titular (honorary) parish in Rome is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s as if she keeps reminding me of how close she is to me!

In January, I’ll return there, to Guadalupe, in company with about thirty of our priests, for a retreat pilgrimage.

The purpose of our pilgrimage and encounter last weekend was to consider her as “the star of the new evangelization.”

With her apparitions to St. Juan Diego December 9-12, 1531, Mary became the first native evangelist to the new world.

Sure, the brave priests and faith filled explorers who came from Spain did indeed bring the Catholic faith and introduce it here.  Evangelization was one of the principal motives for the voyages of discovery by Columbus and the others.

But they, of course, came from Europe.

Mary (granted, she came from heaven) appeared as one of the native people, in features, dress, and language, not a visitor to them but one of them, to tell them about the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus, her son.  She appeared as a pregnant woman, ready to give birth to the Son of God at the exact geographical center of the Western hemisphere, the new world, Tepeyac.

And with that apparition, evangelization was unleashed, as the faith began to increase miraculously all over South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the south and west of what we now call the United States of America.

An evangelization no longer foreign but homegrown, confirmed by a young pregnant Aztec woman who consoled St. Juan Diego, “I am your mother,” and left her tender image on the Tilma for all to see.

This role was not new to her.  Remember how, right after the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel had asked her to be the Mother of God’s Son – - an invitation she accepted – - she left to go see her cousin, Elizabeth?  We call that event the Visitation.  Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth, too, was pregnant (her son would be known as John the Baptist), and Mary went to her, not only to help her, but to let her in on the great news that the Savior was on the way, a baby in her very womb.

She hasn’t stopped evangelizing since.

The most successful evangelist America (both North and South) has ever known:  a woman, a wife, a mother . . .

Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Let Us Rejoice

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Today is Laetare Sunday, let us rejoice! Let me share with you my homily from Mass this morning at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monte Mario. If you would like to read it in Italian, please click here.

Homily, 4th Sunday of Lent

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Rome

March 10, 2013

His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan

Today is Laetare Sunday, “Rejoice Sunday!”

This is appropriate because I rejoice to be with all of you here at my titular parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Don Mammoli, brother priests, dear sisters, beloved parishioners, guests: thank you for your warm welcome.  I always feel very much at home here.

After St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, this is my favorite church! Please do not tell my people in New York I said that!

Here I am not the Archbishop of New York; here I am not a cardinal; here I am a parish priest, like I wanted to be since my first Holy Communion.

And, of course, it is as a pastor of a parish in Rome, even if only honorary, that I am here to elect a new Bishop of Rome, a new Pope.

We Cardinals feel the support of the prayers of God’s People all over the world.  This also makes us rejoice.

We Catholics are really all Romans;

We are God’s children;

We are like the man in today’s Gospel who is always welcome in our father’s house;

We are all redeemed by God’s Son, Jesus, who wants us to live forever in our heavenly Father’s home;

We all look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as our own spiritual mother, and she assured St. Juan Diego at Guadalupe.

We all look to the Church as our mother, too.

No wonder we rejoice.

Parish Missions

Monday, October 15th, 2012

October 15, 2012
Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus
Year of Faith

One of the points made over-and-over again here at the Synod in Rome is that the parish is on the front lines of the New Evangelization!

We bishops can talk “until we’re blue in the face” — and, believe me, some do over here! — about a re-energized and renewed sense of bringing Jesus to the world, but, if this does not become the mission of our parishes, forget it!

I remember speaking once to an ambassador accredited to the Holy See.  She, herself not a Catholic, observed that “The Catholic Church is the most ‘grassroots’ organization I’ve ever seen, because the real life of the Church occurs at the local level, in the parish.  Every believer, wherever he or she is, lives in a parish.”

It is the parish where we are baptized, confirmed, and fed with the Eucharist each Sunday.  It is in the parish where we meet our “pastor,” where we approach confession, where our children learn the faith and walk up the aisle for marriage.  It is in the parish where we find spiritual friendship and community, and where we can serve those in need.  It is in the parish where we’ll be commended to the Lord at the end of our earthly journey.

Thus I find the old custom of appointing a cardinal an “honorary pastor” of a parish in Rome, to a church that becomes his titular, to be rich in meaning.  In the 2000 year old life of the Church, the pastors of the parishes in Rome elect their bishop.  Thus, the cardinals, honorary pastors of their “titular churches,” gather in conclave to choose a new successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome: our Holy Father, the Pope.

When I became a cardinal last February, I was appointed “honorary pastor” of my titular Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on Monte Mario, in Rome.

And yesterday, I “took possession” of that parish.

What a great day it was!  Many cardinals have, as their titular churches, an historic one that might be more of a museum than a living parish.

Not Our Lady of Guadalupe!  This was as large, as welcoming, as dynamic, as youthful, as a parish in the Bronx!  They welcomed me like a returning father of the family — which I guess I am.  The church and the square outside were packed; the Mass was reverent yet lively; the folks were courteously attentive to my awkward Italian; the families young; the kids beaming; the choir great; and … the pranzo afterwards — with toasts in abundance, and even a Dixieland band! … superb.

In my conversations with the “real” pastor, Don Franco Mammoli, I learned that the parish was filled with young families and loyal elders; that it was the spiritual home of immigrants from the Philippines, Africa, and Asia; and that the poor in the neighborhood come to the parish for help.  Sound familiar?  I felt at home.  I was at home, as God’s children always are in the parish, even one not their own.

My big mistake was not knowing whether I should be a fan of the Lazio or the Roman soccer team!  Sounds like their version of the “Yankees/Mets,” or “Giants/Jets” question!

Of course, I commented to my “new parishioners” how appropriate it was that we both looked to Our Lady of Guadalupe as a patroness.  I wondered out loud if my appointment as titular pastor of this parish was recognition by Pope Benedict XVI of the great gift of our Mexican and other Latino brothers and sisters to the Archdiocese of New York.

As I left Monte Mario, I thanked God that my new parish was, in so many ways, already vigorous in the New Evangelization, and reminded anew that we bishops in the Synod are “whistlin’ Dixie” if our words do not penetrate to the soil, the grassroots, of the Church: the parish!