“The saints are here with us tonight, here in the Santuario de Guadalupe!”
On October 11, 2017, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was honored and blessed to welcome the relics of Pope St. John Paul II, St. John Vianney, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and the Three Children of Fatima (St. Jacinta, St. Francisco, and Sr. Lucia).
Although the relics were at the shrine for only a few hours, approximately 2,000 local pilgrims were in attendance to see and venerate the relics.
The visit of the relics to the Shrine was made possible by Charles and Peggy Foster of The Marian Institute who sponsored the visit of Dr. William Thomas. Dr. Thomas is the custodian of the relics, Professor of Mariology at Newman College, Ireland, and Director of the Pope St. John Paul II Institute of Marian Studies.
Our event was celebrated outdoors in the plaza and included a talk by Dr. Thomas on “The Apparitions of Fatima” and Mass celebrated by our Rector, Very Rev. Esequiel Sanchez.
In his homily, Fr. Sanchez explained that:
“We bring these relics here because there are so many people hurting… We come to them [the saints] asking for holiness, asking God that we may change everything that is bad and change it back to good, as He so deeply desires it. The Lord deeply desires that we return to holiness, that we be united to Him, and that we live forever by His side as true sons and daughters of God.” […]
“You are afraid of the future. Your relationships are not going well. You’re having trouble in your family. The children don’t listen to you. Your marriage is hurting… Pray with the saints so that everything will be made well again.”
Following the Mass, everyone was invited to approach the relics for personal veneration. The relics were carried by the priests and deacons of the Shrine. Our choirs, Angeles de Dios and Cristo Vive, filled the air with music to create a joyful and prayerful experience for everyone. And, our dedicated ushers and members of the Hijas de Maria and Knights of Columbus helped to guide the crowd so that everyone could approach the relics.
Additionally, our volunteer Audio/Visual team made it possible for the event to be live streamed on our Facebook page to over 25,000 followers. And, they also helped to enhance the experience by streaming footage of Pope St. John Paul II throughout the event.
We are grateful to everyone who helped to make this event possible – thank you!
Following the event, Dr. Thomas explained that the saints who were among us this day are not only among the best known and venerated in the Church today, but also they serve as reminders of four important tasks for Catholics:
- To pray for the Pope and for the Church (Pope St. John Paul II)
- To pray for priests and vocations to the priesthood (St. John Vianney)
- To pray for the poor, abandoned, sick and suffering (St. Teresa of Calcutta)
- To pray for children and the youth of the Church (The Children of Fatima)
Our event also served as a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Friday, October 13, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s final appearance to the children and of the Miracle of Sun witnessed by tens of thousands of people at Fatima. Throughout the world, Pope St. John Paul II helped to spread the message and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. As Fr. Sanchez said: “He loved Our Lady. Therefore, we should follow his example and love her as he loved her. Let’s love her as he taught us how.”
“Dear Mexicans: thank you for your hospitality, for your constant affection, for your fidelity to the Church. Continue to be faithful on this journey, encouraged by the marvelous examples of holiness born in this noble nation. Be holy! Repeating what I said to you in the Basilica of Guadalupe in 1990, serve God, the Church and the nation, each one assuming personal responsibility for passing on the Gospel message and witnessing to a faith that is alive and active in society.”
Pope St. John Paul II
Mexico, July 30, 2002