Thousands to Join Cardinal in Celebrating Visit by Relic from Saint Juan Diego

August 05, 2003

Thousands of area Catholics will join Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, in a joyful celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in the presence of a relic from Saint Juan Diego. The relic is a fragment from the saint’s tilma, or cloak, that still bears the miraculous image of Mary, the Mother of God, nearly 500 years after she appeared to Juan Diego. The celebration will be held:

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Noon-1:00 p.m.: Confessions
1:15 p.m.: Mariachi music and procession around Shrine
2:00 p.m.: Mass and veneration of the relic
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

All events will be bi-lingual (English/Spanish)

The story of Juan Diego and the tilma is known to Catholics worldwide. In 1531, Mary, the Mother of God, reportedly appeared to a poor Indian named Juan Diego in an area outside Mexico City. Miraculously, roses appeared, despite the harsh winter, as well as an image of the Lady on Juan Diego’s cloak. The apparition of Our Lady is credited with converting Mexico from paganism to Catholicism.

A cathedral later built on the site of the apparition of Our Lady holds Juan Diego’s original cloak, with the image of Our Lady still visible. It is part of that cloak that will visit Washington. Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego as a saint on July 31, 2002 during a trip to Mexico. The Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the Americas.

The May 30-December 7, 2003 tour of the relic, which opened in Denver and will end at New York’s Cathedral of St. Patrick, is organized by the Apostolate for Holy Relics. For information (Spanish/English) on the August 9 events, call 301-853-4566 (media calls: 301-853-4516).

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
[email protected]