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This evening the Sophia Center for Spirituality is sponsoring a prayer service in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas. (see details at http://www.thesophiacenterforspirituality.org) In this endeavor we recognize the appearances of Mary to St. Juan Diego, a poor native of a small village near Mexico City in the 16th century. Disbelief of Juan’s experience by church officials to whom Juan was directed led to amazement when he opened his cape to reveal a gift from “the Lady” – an abundance of roses. In addition was the image of Mary imprinted on the cape which has endured intact since 1531 and has been venerated by millions of people. Mary had appeared as an Aztec woman as a reminder of the need to accept all people, especially at that time, the poor indigenous population being treated cruelly by the conquering Spaniards.

On this day we gather to pray for the native peoples of Central America who still suffer and are in danger in their own countries and so turn to the United States to find safety. As I write, there are thousands of migrants at our southern border who have walked hundreds of miles seeking asylum. While immigration is a complex issue for our country at this moment in time, this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds us of God’s preferential option for the poor. Mary reached out to Juan Diego in a simple gesture of love. Must we not do the same for her children in distress? Won’t you join us today in prayer?