The Holy Father, who professes a devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, decided to continue a tradition started by Pope Benedict XVI
VATICAN CITY — For the third consecutive year, Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican has announced.
According to a statement issued by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, “the Holy Father has again expressed his desire to preside at this celebration, on the day when millions of Catholics around the world give honor to the Patroness of America and of the Philippines.”
The Mass will be celebrated at 6:00 pm. It will be preceded by the recitation of the Rosary in Spanish and offered “for the intentions of the Catholic Church throughout the world, in particular for the Church of the American nations and of the Philippines,” and a procession of flags representing various nations devoted to the Blessed Virgin.
A large number of faithful are expected to attend, especially from Rome’s Latin American and Filipino communities, as well as cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
It was Pope Benedict XVI who first celebrated Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2011, to mark the bicentenary of Latin America’s independence.
On that occasion, the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus were sung from the “Misa Criolla,” by the Argentinean composer Ariel Ramirez.
Three years later, in 2014, the Church’s first Latin American pope decided to do the same. This time, the “Criolla Mass” was sung by a group of musicians from Argentina, accompanied by a youth choir directed by the composer’s son, 50 years after it was first sung at the Vatican in the presence of Pope Paul VI.
Pope Francis, who professes a devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, chose to continue the tradition in 2015. On that occasion, during the homily, Pope Francis announced his Apostolic Journey to Mexico, February 12-18, 2016. During the visit, he made an historic pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
This year’s celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe comes after the recent canonization of two new Latin American Saints: Argentine priest José Gabriel del Rosario, the “Cura Brochero,” and the young Mexican martyr José Sánchez del Río.
According to the statement issued by the Pontifical Commission for Latin American, the Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe will be accompanied by several ancient liturgical hymns, composed in indigenous languages.
“Among them will be a beautiful hymn dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe composed in the ‘Nahuatl’ language, the language of the ‘Nican Mopohua,’ and other ancient songs in the Quechua, Mapuche and Guarani languages.”
US Bishops call for Day of Prayer for refugees and migrants on December 12th
Meanwhile, US bishops have called for a day of prayer focusing on the plight of refugees and migrants across the United States on December 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “It will be a time to place before a merciful God the hopes, fears, and needs of all those families who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life,” a USCCB statement read.
“As Christmas approaches and especially on this feast of Our Lady, we are reminded of how our Savior Jesus Christ was not born in the comfort of his own home, but rather in an unfamiliar manger,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“To all those families separated and far from home in uncertain times, we join with you in a prayer for comfort and joy this Advent season,” Cardinal DiNardo added.
According to the USCCB statement, Mass and prayer services will be held in many dioceses across US “as the Catholic Church continues to accompany migrants and refugees seeking an opportunity to provide for their families.”
If you are unable to attend or there is not one near you, the US Bishops invite Catholics to offer prayers wherever they may be. Their office of Migrant and Refugee Services (MRS) has also developed a Scriptural Rosary entitled “Unity in Diversity” that includes prayers for migrants and refugees at: