We started very early on a beautiful Thursday morning and we walked the Tepeyac steps while reciting the Rosary. Our first stop was at the Christ the King monument that was just finished!!! It was a stunning addition to the Tepeyac ascent. Ruben Marshall from the Mexican Association was very helpful in offering up the background on the Cristero wars. Paul Navarro shared a most touching and beautiful story of his grandmother’s deep faith as she lived through persecution in this war! The climb up the hill was graced with many great views and it was most holy, calming and relaxing, as there were few people on the trail. We continued the day visiting many other chapels along the path. We celebrated a very special noon High Mass commemorating the move of the sacred Tilma from the old Basilica to the new Basilica 40+ years ago.
After Mass, we visited the Nuestra Señora de Paz girl’s boarding school to have lunch and spend time with the Nuns and students who entertained us with various dances.
On Friday, we left early for Casa Hogar San Juan, which is an elderly home run by the Mexican Association. We spent all day there and many of the members were feeding the elderly. We had an outdoor Mass and the Casa Hogar San Juan directors gave an update and overview of their future plans. Doña Ana Rita Valero de García Lascurian presented the history of pilgrimages to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and gifted the pilgrims with a copy of her book, “Santa Maria de Guadalupe: In the Light of History”
Saturday was the Mexican Association’s Annual Day of the Sick. We helped the sick and elderly from the 32 buses as they arrived to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica for the Mass. Following a beautiful Mass, we headed to a grand lunch at Monte Cristo, which is near Basilica.
Sunday, we had a tour by Andrea Van Huit of the Metropolitan Cathedral followed by a uplifting Mass presided by their Auxiliary Bishop. We concluded the day with a lovely party hosted in the home of Armando and Monica Gutierrez Figueroa.
I am extremely grateful to my good friend and Pilgrimage Chaplain, Father John Love, for his inspirational liturgies, for having led us in the praying of our daily rosary and most importantly, for his kind and warm presence, which always reminded us why we were part of this unique pilgrimage. He is an exceptional Chaplain and really took on his duties on with grace, humility, humor and conviction.
Last but not least, I am deeply grateful to our dear friends of the Order of Malta Mexican Association. With a warm embrace and friendly smile, they always welcome us, old timers and newcomers, as we work together as family, which is what we have become to each other over the years.
I pray that each pilgrim returned home with a deeper love of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Mother, the Empress of the Americas. Perhaps you will hear her call and join the 2024 Guadalupe Pilgrimage from October 16 -21, 2024, as the Mexican Association celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Guadalupe Pilgrimage!
Thank you and may God bless you one and all.
Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Duke Powers, KM