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Rome’s Near-Abandoned Guadalupe Shrine Marks Feast

David Casteel

Catholic News Agency - published on 12/16/13

“I don’t know why the devotion hasn’t grown more. We’ve tried in every way to increase interest… but it hasn’t grown any more than it has,” said Silvestri, who travelled in from the nearby city of Ostia for the occasion. She was one of the first members of the local Guadalupe prayer group.

“Unfortunately, this church is rather poorly take care of. Sorry if I say so.” Rebeca Vasquez Flores, another local member, originally from San Agustin Mimbres, Mexico.

She’s been coming to the church since she arrived in Rome for work 28 years ago. “What am I doing here? Well, I’ve come to venerate the Virgin. I really like to come when I have time, because I don’t always have time.”

“In my simplicity, I can tell you that God is in all of us and Our Lady cares for us and protects us as her children,” says Flores.

She was the only Mexican there besides the celebrating priest, Fr. Jose Luis Garcia Bernal from Guzman in Jalisco state.

He’s in his second year as a student in Rome, celebrating the Guadalupan feast away from home for the second time. He said he sees the same fervor as there is back in Mexico here, however. “Although this is not a very big celebration,” he said, “I’ve perceived the great gesture of devotion and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

He was particularly struck by Italians singing the Spanish-language “La Guadalupana” hymn at the end of Mass.

“Perhaps in the form there are some differences (between this and the celebration in Mexico) but in terms of the faith and encountering Jesus in the Eucharist,” said Fr. Garcia Bernal, “I don’t think there are any differences.”

Originally published by Catholic News Agency

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