(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis led the faithful in the Rite of Coronation of the image of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe and spent some time in silent prayer before the image in Mexico last night. Seen as the highlight of his visit to Mexico as Francis himself said
I am going to Mexico. First of all to visit Our Lady, because she is the Mother of America. That is why I am going to Mexico City. Were it not for Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would not go to Mexico City.... I’ll go to Mexico for Our Lady."Veronica Scarisbrick is the Vatican Radio correspondent traveling with Pope Francis in Mexico. She takes a look at the importance of this Marian image and the history behind it. Listen to Veronica Scarisbrick's report, "The Crowning of the Morenita"
After celebrating the first Mass of his papal trip to Mexico Feb. 13, the pope made his way to the “camarin” (“little room”) behind the main altar of the basilica dedicated to Mary. The miraculous mantle, which normally faces the congregation, can be turned around to allow a closer and more private moment of veneration.
Laying a bouquet of yellow roses in front of the image, the pope sat down in prayerful silence with eyes closed and head bowed. After roughly 20 minutes, the pope stood up, laid his hand on the image and departed from the small room.
About 12,000 people packed the basilica for the papal Mass and another 30,000 were watching on screens set up in the outer courtyard. Built in 1976, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located near Tepeyac hill, the site of Mary’s apparitions to St. Juan Diego in 1531. With some 12 million people visiting each year, it is Catholicism’s most popular Marian shrine.
In his homily, the pope reflected on the Gospel reading, which recalled Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary’s humility in saying “yes” to God’s will, he said, is a response “which prompted her to give the best of herself, going forth to meet others.”
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