SCRANTON – As he celebrated Masses for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, told parishioners it is Mary’s journey of faith that can help each of us embrace the power and presence of God.

“Following her election by God to be the mother of the Savior, Mary immediately journeyed to visit Elizabeth. But her willingness to follow God’s invitation didn’t end with that encounter. She journeyed to Bethlehem where her son was born and then to Egypt to keep him safe for his mission. She journeyed to Cana where Jesus performed the first sign revealing his glory and then she followed Jesus all the way to the cross. And after Jesus’ resurrection, Mary journeyed with his disciples to receive the Spirit and to build the Church – the redeemed People of God,” Bishop Bambera said.

A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is carried into the Cathedral of Saint Peter during the entrance procession of the Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Photos/Mike Melisky)

The bishop said Mary’s journey continued well beyond the earliest days of the Church.

“She journeyed all the way to Tepeyac to accompany Juan Diego. And she continues to this very day – to journey throughout our world, assisted by your prayers and devotions. She journeys to homes and prison cells, to hospital rooms, schools, rest homes, and even to our borders with those seeking refuge, safety, and peace,” he continued.

It is the appearance nearly five centuries ago, Dec. 9, 10, and 12, 1531 in Tepeyac, near present-day Mexico City, when God sent Mary as his messenger appearing before Blessed Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian, that brings out hundreds of people to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in parishes all around the Diocese of Scranton. The Blessed Mother’s appearance is believed to have resulted in millions of conversions to Catholicism.

The Cathedral of Saint Peter was nearly filled on Dec. 10 for a Mass organized by Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish in South Scranton.

On Dec. 12, hundreds of others participated in a procession through the streets of Wilkes-Barre, ending with Mass celebrated at Saint Nicholas Church.

“She brings all of our communities together, especially with people coming from different countries,” Karla Andrade of Saint Theresa of Calcutta Parish said.

While the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is especially important to members of the Latino and Hispanic populations, she is the Patroness of the Americas, and we should all celebrate her.

“I feel so happy to be part of this celebration,” Wenceslao De La Cruz of Scranton said following Mass on Dec. 10 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

“It is something that is truly embedded into our communities, our homes, it is a huge celebration,” Jenny Gonzalez of Scranton said. “It’s a day when a lot of people gather together. They will pray and show a lot of gratitude but it’s also a day when they genuinely ask Our Lady of Guadalupe for something special for their families.”
Gonzalez really enjoyed watching all the young people take part in the Mass and reception which followed at the Diocesan Pastoral Center which featured music and dancing.

“It is really an important day not only for our community but also for our diocese,” she added.

Parishes in Brodheadsville, East Stroudsburg, Hazleton, Jermyn, Meshoppen, Plains and West Hazleton also held Feast Day celebrations.