By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published June 21, 2007
During the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress June 9, a special commissioning of 11 images of Our Lady of Guadalupe marked a Marian renewal for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Father José Duván Gonzalez, vicar for clergy and liaison for the Office for Hispanic Ministry, spoke at the closing Mass while the images of Our Lady of Guadalupe were brought forward and presented to representatives of 10 churches and Diane Starkovich, superintendent of Catholic schools.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta will be re-consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Dec. 12, and schools and parishes will be asked to renew their “commitment to her Son, Jesus Christ.” At that time, the Blessed Mother will be asked to unify and protect the increasingly diverse Catholic population under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Empress of the Americas.
The archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry Office purchased the Mexican images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other Marian images that were blessed April 23 by the president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, Bishop Carlos Aguiar, Auxiliary Bishop Carlos Briceño of Mexico City and others at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Father Duván led about 25 Atlantans on a pilgrimage to Mexico City, where he and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory concelebrated the Mass at the Basilica.
The images will go to various areas across the archdiocese, and catechesis sessions will be held for all Catholics on topics such as the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Marian theology, the rosary and the church’s teaching on apparitions. Those participating in the catechesis will learn about inspiring details of the original Guadalupe image, which miraculously appeared on the tilma of Mexican Indian peasant Juan Diego in 1531 and is on display at the Basilica in Mexico City.
The catechesis sessions will also include discussions of the importance of the Virgin’s messages to St. Juan Diego for people of faith today, and the significance that she was declared Patroness of the Americas and Mother of the Americas by popes of the 20th century.
The images will rotate to parishes and Catholic schools throughout the various regions, and catechesis sessions will be held in Spanish and English until Dec. 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, named Patroness of the Americas by Pope Pius XII in 1946. On the feast day Archbishop Gregory will lead a ceremony to crown Our Lady of Guadalupe and renew the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
At the Congress, the first 10 parishes representing each region were named, and representatives of those parishes came forth to get an image to take back to their churches. The parishes include: St. Michael Church, Gainesville; St. Joseph Church, Dalton; St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw; St. Joseph Church, Athens; St. James Church, Madison; Our Lady of the Americas Mission, Lilburn; St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta; St. Pius X Church, Conyers; Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City; and the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta.
An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will also be sent to various Catholic schools.
Visit www.archatl.com/offices/hispanic_ministry/ for more information.