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This December 12 is the 491st anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Mexico. People from all over the world — some 20 million a year! — visit the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe to witness the miraculous image and to participate in the various devotions and festivities to honor the Blessed Mother.
These devotions include praying the 46-day rosary that begins on October 28 and ends on December 12.
At the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the faithful participate in the Dozavario, or 12 days of prayerful preparation, leading up to the feast day. A dozavario, also known as a docenario, from the word for dozen, refers to devotions prayed in the 12 days leading up to a Marian feast.
Then beginning on the vigil of the Feast, the Mariachis sing the Mañanitas, the Matachines perform their dances, performers re-enact the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and people of all ages bring roses and other flowers that are placed near the altar before her image.
A reminder of a Message
The celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe remind us of the message of hope she brings to all humanity. She promised Juan Diego that as our Mother, she is attentive to our prayers.
She came to “cleanse and nurse all their different troubles, their miseries, their sufferings” (32). Like Juan Diego, we can approach her, our Mother, in our hopes, happiness, struggles, and sadness. Without fear, we can trust that she, carrying us in the fold of her arms as her children, is the source of our joy and loves; she cares, and always remains with us.
“Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you” (Nican Mopohua 119).
Walking with her
After having visited the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City for the first time in 2015, I not only wanted to learn more about the history of the apparitions, but I wanted to grow in my devotion to Our Lady by preparing myself spiritually for her feast day.
The devotions practiced at the Basilica — the Dozavario, or meditations on the 12 days leading up to the feast — can be followed virtually as well.
Each day’s reflection is associated with a theme that may be related to the Mass reading or a mystery of the rosary for that day, or another devotion.
Some of the reflections underscore a particular title or virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and how it is manifested in the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Having “walked” with the Virgin of Guadalupe during the Dozavario, I fell more in love with her and developed a greater appreciation for St. Juan Diego, the humble, faithful, and obedient servant of Our Lady.
Every year I look forward to participating, virtually, at the following link of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The spiritually enriching meditations of the Dozavario from past years can be found here (in Spanish).