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Cuernavaca | Learning Religion

March 03, 2016

Our Lady of Guadalupe Our second day of our ECS was as exciting and full of learning as the first day. Today, our focus was learning about the main religion of Mexico. In Mexico, nearly 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, which is a staggering amount of people. As to learn more about Catholicism itself, we journeyed to a local Catholic Church in the Springs with the Religions ECS called, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. At this church, the priest there generously gave us his time to talk about not only Catholicism in general, so that we could learn about the major religion in Mexico, but also specifically about Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin Mary in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, we learned that the people in Mexico have a few different rituals in their masses compared to American ones, such as how they make the sign of the cross. In general though, we were specifically excited to learn about Our Lady of Guadalupe, and why she is such an important part in Latino Catholic culture.

First, we learned about the miracle and story that Our Lady of Guadalupe performed to a regular Aztec man in the 1500s named Juan Diego. One day, Juan Diego was walking to church when he heard a beautiful voice in the meadows. He ran to see the woman whose voice this came from, and he saw an indigenous looking woman, who was the Virgin Mary. Mary told Juan to tell the Archbishop to build a parish on top of the hill. So, Juan ran to the Archbishop to tell him this. The Archbishop, not completely believing Juan, sent him on his way saying that if Juan brought a sign from Mary, he would build the parish. The next day, Juan saw Mary in the meadow again. This time, Mary told Juan to give the archbishop the beautiful roses that were bloom Archbishop, and when he threw the roses down from his cloak, and holy and amazing image of Mary appeared on his cloak. The Archbishop was so amazed by this miracle, that he built a church on top of the hill with an original painting of this image. This church is now very famous, and can hold over 10,000 people.

One reason that this image was widely inspiring to the indigenous people was that Mary is seen with dark, indigenous skin. Also, she presented her miracle through a normal man (Juan Diego). This event is what widely converted thousands of Mexicans to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe is still widely important to Latino Catholics, although they do not believe that she is their God, they respect her because she is the Mother of Jesus. Overall, we learned about a very important aspect of Mexican culture to prepare us for what we will see in Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe