A new Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin will be dedicated by its Founder this week. Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis and former Bishop of La Crosse, will dedicate the shrine which memorializes Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparitions to St. Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531 and her miraculous image which she left on his cloak or tilma. In preparation for the dedication, the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe visited the Shrine where it was processed with honor.
The procession included altar servers, Knights of Columbus, schoolchildren and Archbishop Burke. The Missionary Image remained at the Shrine for a week where it visited several schools and was displayed at the Pilgrim Center for veneration by the pilgrims.
The Shrine serves the spiritual needs of those who suffer poverty in body and soul. It is a place of ceaseless prayer for the corporal and spiritual welfare of God’s children, especially those in most need. In fidelity to its mission as a place of religious pilgrimage, the Shrine pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization and honors her as the Patroness of the Unborn.
Archbishop Burke said:
The Shrine is a place of pilgrimage. It recalls the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 and proclaims once again her message of God’s mercy and love. In the preparation of the Great Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II confirmed the importance of shrines and pilgrimages to shrines for our spiritual life. In my ministry as Bishop of La Crosse and now as Archbishop of St. Louis, I have noted the wholehearted response of the faithful during pilgrimages over the past several years. It has been my desire to provide a place of authentic devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, to which the faithful may go on pilgrimage. In response to my request, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II gave his Apostolic Blessing to the work of establishing such a place of pilgrimage, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
For complete information on the shrine and its dedication, visit its website at: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/.
Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Devotion is the manifestation of our love, our honor and our respect for a person. The devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe began in Mexico from the moment Bishop Zumarraga fell on his knees when St. Juan Diego opened his tilma in front of him. Miraculous roses fell from his tilma and Our Lady’s miraculous image appeared on it.
The Bishop took the tilma to his private chapel where he venerated Our Lady’s portrait before the Blessed Sacrament. From there it was moved to the new sanctuary that Our Lady had requested, that was erected at Tepeyac Hill within two weeks. The tilma was processed to the new chapel on December 26, 1531 by thousands of church and civil dignitaries, Indians and Spaniards.
Thousands of Indians and Spaniards soon came to the chapel to venerate Our Lady’s portrait and to listen to St. Juan Diego relate the story of her apparitions and messages.
The tilma was venerated in the first sanctuary from 1531 to 1622 when construction began on the Old Basilica. It was venerated in a temporary church until the completion of the Old Basilica in 1709. The New Basilica Shrine in Mexico was dedicated on October 11, 1976.
These churches were built in response to Our Lady’s expressed earnest wish, “That a sanctuary be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people.”
Our Lady requested a material church so that she, the Mother of the Church, could replace the false goddess Tontantzin and her temple and build us up as temples of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual Church, the mystical Body of Christ. Her love, help and protection for the people were demonstrated time after time.
Altars, shrines, statues and churches dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe spread from Mexico throughout the world to Italy, Spain, France, England, Sweden, Japan, Poland and the United States.
There is a beautiful Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. On the walls are inscribed the words, “Who is she who comes forth like the rising dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, like the rainbow gleaming amid luminous clouds, like the bloom of roses in the spring?” The altar depicts in mosaic the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mosaic walls show streams of pilgrims coming to venerate her as they continue to do at the Basilica Shrine near Mexico City by the thousands daily and up to twenty million annually.
The Basilica Shrine in Mexico holds 10,000 people inside and many more can see into it from the plaza outside. The Miraculous Image is enshrined behind bullet-proof glass with three frames of gold, silver and bronze. It is located on a wall behind the main altar twenty-five feet above three moving walkways that carry the pilgrims to view it from below.
More pilgrims go to the Mexican Basilica Shrine than any other religious place on the earth. They come in throngs of a cross-section of humanity from all over the world, many finishing the last hundreds of yards of their pilgrimage on their knees. They have answered in confidence Our Lady’s call to St. Juan Diego to bring her their love, their cries and their sorrows. She fulfills her promises and hears them. She remedies and alleviates their sufferings, necessities and misfortunes. All find something to love in Our Lady of Guadalupe who is the light that shines above the darkness of this age.
Hopefully, now many will visit her new shrine in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and receive these graces from Our Lady of Guadalupe whom Pope John Paul II named, Mother of Hope, Star of the New Evangelization and Queen and Mother of America.
[CE Editor's note: To avoid confusion over the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, please note: The patroness of the United States is the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The Patronal Catholic Church of the United States is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception located in Washington, D.C., which was built to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the United States. It is right and good for Catholics in the United States to honor the Blessed Virgin by her many titles: Our Lady of Guadalupe; Mother of Sorrows; Mary, Help of Christians; Our Lady of Fatima; Our Lady of Lourdes; etc. But the preeminent way that we Catholics in the Unites States honor Mary is as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.]