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Don’t be shy to share the Gospel, Filipinos told on feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Our Lady of Guadalupe challenges everyone to be inspired by the Gospel and to be active in society by celebrating and protecting life

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, reminded the faithful not to be ashamed to proclaim and live the Gospel in their daily lives.

“Let us not be ashamed to proclaim Christ in our words and in our service to others,” said the prelate during Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati City on December 12.

He said the feast of the Our Lady of Guadalupe challenges everyone to be inspired by the Gospel and to be active in society.

“And like Mary, let us celebrate life. Let us protect life because that is a gift from God, that gives us hope,” said the prelate.

In the Vatican, Pope Francis also reminded the faithful that the Virgin Mary teaches everyone about God’s gift, abundance, and blessing.

“Looking at the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe we somehow also have the reflection of these three realities: abundance, blessing and gift,” he said in his homily on December 12.

Pope Francis offered Mass in Spanish for a limited number of people in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn.

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Mary, is “blessed” among women, the pope noted, and the vessel who brought us the gift of Jesus.

God is “the Blessed one by nature” and she is “the Blessed one by grace,” he said. “The gift of God was presented to us as a blessing, in the Blessed by nature and in the Blessed by grace.”

“This is the gift that God presents to us and that he has continually wanted to emphasize, to reawaken throughout Revelation,” the pope continued.

“‘Blessed are you among women,’ because you brought us the Blessed One.”

The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City in 1531, during a time of conflict between the Spanish and the indigenous peoples.

Mary took the appearance of a pregnant native woman, wore clothing in the style of the indigenous community, and spoke to Juan Diego in a native language, Nahuatl.

“Looking at the image of our Mother, awaiting the Blessed One, full of grace awaiting the Blessed One, we understand a little about abundance, about speaking goodness, about blessing,” Pope Francis said.

“We understand this about the gift.”

Our Lady asked Juan Diego to appeal to the bishop to build a church on the site of the apparition, stating she wanted a place where she could reveal to the people the compassion of her son.

Initially turned away by the bishop, Diego returned to the site asking Our Lady for a sign to prove the authenticity of her message.

She instructed him to gather the Castilian roses that he found blooming on the hillside, despite the fact that it was winter, and present them to the Spanish bishop.

Juan Diego filled his cloak – known as a tilma – with the flowers. When he presented them to the bishop, he found that an image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted upon his tilma.

Nearly 500 years later, Diego’s tilma with the miraculous image is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and visited by millions of pilgrims each year.

Pope Francis said “by contemplating the image of our mother today, we draw from God a bit of this style that he has: generosity, abundance, blessing, never cursing. And in transforming our life into a gift, a gift for all.”

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to Catholics celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at home this year.

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