Saturday, December 12, 2015

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE Homily and Liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community with Co-Presiders Theresa and Roman Rodriguez

 Our Lady of Guadalupe, Guadalupe, Mexico (1531)
Patroness of the Americas
The opening of the New World brought with it both fortune-seekers and religious preachers desiring to convert the native populations to the Christian faith.  One of the converts was a poor Aztec Indian named Juan Diego.
On Saturday, December 9, 1531, while on his way to mass, Juan Diego heard singing coming from the top of Tepayac hill.  Suddenly, the singing stopped, and a women’s voice called out to him:  “Juanito, Juanito”.  Ascending the hill, Juan Diego found himself before a beautiful woman adorned in clothing that “shone like the sun”.  The woman introduced herself as “the Immaculate Mother of God” and explained her reason for her appearance:  she came to request that a church be built near the hill of Tepayac, and she wanted Juan Diego to take her request to the head of the Church of Mexico, Bishop Juan de Zumarraga.  The task would not be easy.  Like many New World missionaries from Spain, Bishop Zumarraga was suspicious of supposed visionaries, fearing it was indigenous idolatry. The Bishop dismissed the humble Indian without paying attention to his story.
Two more times Our Lady appeared to Juan, requesting him to deliver the same favor.  He did as she asked and finally the Bishop asked for a sign.  So, Juan reported this to her and she promised to grant a sign the following morning.
Returning home, Juan Diego was met with sad news: his uncle Juan Bernardino had become deathly ill.  Instead of going to Tepayac hill the next day, Juan Diego went and found a doctor, but nothing could be done for his uncle.  So on Monday, December 12th, Juan Diego put on his tilma (cloak) and went to find a priest.
Hoping to avoid any delays he took a different path so as to avoid the Virgin.  But as he neared Tepayac, she descended from the hill, asking what was wrong.  She assured him of his uncle’s recovery and told him to gather fresh roses which he would find growing on the frosty summit of the rocky and barren hill. Then, in this barren, wintery spot, he found a garden of sweet-smelling flowers; he picked the flowers and brought them back down to the Virgin, who arranged them in his tilma.  Juan Diego then set out for the Bishop’s house.
Juan Diego went before the bishop and recounted the Virgin’s words and the miracle of the flowers.  When Juan Diego opened his tilma and flowers fell out, an even greater miracle was revealed: on the tilma’s surface was the Virgin’s image of Our Lady exactly as she had appeared on Mount Tepeyac.  The Bishop and those in the room fell to their knees, admiring and praying, and the bishop asked to be shown the place for the Virgin’s church.  Within six years of this apparition, six million Aztecs had converted to Catholicism. Controversy
In 1977, the tilma was examined using infrared photography and digital enhancement techniques.  Unlike any painting, the tilma shows no sketching or any sign of an outline drawn to permit an artist to produce a painting.  Further, the very method used to create the image is still unknown.  It is inexplicable in its longevity and method of production.
Juan Diego was canonized on July 31, 2002, and his tilma is displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited Marian Shrine in the world. Within six years of this apparition, six million Mexican Aztecs had converted to Catholicism.
.       In in 1982 when I was recovering from a near fatal pulmonary embolism, my parents as well as Theresa and I made a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to thank her for answering our prayers and saving my life.  For me, the visit to the shrine was a real emotional everlasting experience.
Roman and Theresa Rodriguez
Janet Blakeley, ARCWP Music Minister
The Celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Roman has told you the history.  I want to express the devotion that the Mexican people have to the Virgin.
Roman and I are bilingual and bicultural.  We feel comfortable in either culture.  Both of us were born in the USA of Mexican parents who came to the United States during the Mexican Revolution of the 20’s.  I guess you can say we are “anchor babies”, as Trump has put it.

The devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is very strong among the Mexican population.  Anywhere there is a parish with a large Hispanic population, there will be a Mananitas  to the Virgin.  Traditionally, the Mananitas is sung to awaken a person on their birthday with the Mariachis.  For those with the income ability, Mariachi musicians are hired to sing and play.
Today, December 12, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mananitas was serenaded at sunrise to the Virgin.  On a work day it may have to be sung at 4:30 in the morning.  Fortunately since today, the day of her feast falls on a Saturday, the song was sung a little later, 5:30 a.m.  There is a huge celebration with ethnic dances.  When we arrived this morning already the dancers in Aztec Indian costumes with feathers and maraca-type instruments on their wrists and ankles were dancing to the beat of a drum outside the church.  There are often several groups that dance.  This continues until the church doors open and everyone assembles inside until there is standing room only of families with children and infants. Then the singing begins to the large image of the Virgin.  First the congregation, then there are solo singers and finally the Mariachis come in with their guitars and trumpets.

As we mentioned last year, the celebration continues in the evening.  Booths are set up of many different types of food.  At 7:00 p.m. Mass begins and there are so many people that a loudspeaker is reciting the Mass because there is no more room inside the Church.
We have related to you a custom of the Mexican culture.  As a bilingual teacher in Detroit serving many cultures, white, black, Asian and Arab, we would stress to the parents that everyone has a unique culture.  There are things that you do with your family that become uniquely yours.  It may be something you do at Christmas or other times of the year that has come down to you from your parents, grandparents.  It may be something your family has started, a certain devotion, or meal.   Our son and his family take a piƱata full of treats to school on their children’s birthday for the classroom to swing at.  This is a cultural practice that is shared with their classmates.

We ask you at this time to share your unique cultural devotion or event, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you, it is part of your individual culture.

Liturgy for Advent/Christmas
The Feast of Guadalupe
Presiders are Theresa and Roman Rodriguez
Hymns: Hail Mary Gentle Woman, Pan de Vita, Albare.

Opening Song
Advent: Carol At The Manger,
Marty Haugen
Christmas: “O Come All Ye Faithful”

Presider:  Nurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully. You know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We know that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, rejoice as we give birth to God within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say and do.  ALL:  Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  O Jesus Christ, holy Child of our loving God; You fill us with joy in your presence. You who are with our God, receive our prayer.  For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are Messiah.  You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ; with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God.  Amen.

First Reading:
Response: “Go tell it on the Mountain”
Second Reading:
Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!  (sung)
Reader: A reading from the Gospel according to …   ALL:  Glory to you O God.
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
Dialogue HOMILY

Profession of Faith:  ALL:  We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices.  We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  Amen.

Presider:  For a deeper coming of Christ in our world, let us pray.
Response: Nurturing God, hear us.
Presider:  That we may experience the coming of God anew in our lives, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That people who suffer from destitution and despair may experience the mothering comfort of God we pray.  R.
Presider:  That the sick and suffering may receive the nurturing, healing love of God, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That those who have died may rest in God’s eternal embrace, we pray.  R.
(Other Intentions)
Offertory Hymn:
“Angels We Have Heard On High”
Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
Presider:  God is with you.  ALL: And also with you.  Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God.  Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.

Voice One:  Mothering God, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence.

Voice Two: Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary’s womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts.

Voice Three: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of abundant life. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL:  Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth.  All beings are pregnant with your glory. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed are you who  dwell in all things. Hosanna in the Highest.

Voice Four:  Praise to you, all-giving God, born of Mary. You are the body and blood of woman. We glorify you, nurturing God for the dawning of the sacred promise of God’s Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

Voice Five: We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel , who came to give us the fullness of life. During this holy season we share the bread of freedom and lift the cup of salvation.
(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)
All:  Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the Body of Christ.
Presider:  As Jesus gave birth to the New Covenant, he took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, and shared it with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body.
Presider:  Then Jesus took a cup of wine, blessed you, Loving God,  shared the cup with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and drink from the covenant, poured out for you and for everyone. Do this in memory of me.
Presider:  Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:
ALL: Christ, by your life, death and rising, you have blessed us with abundance that will never end.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (Place hands on each other’s shoulder)
All: God of all people, You call us “beloved.” Give us courage to accept your faith in us and to live your compassion in the world. You infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, to serve you in the last and the least.

Voice Six:  As we wait with joyful hearts for the fulfillment of your loving presence in our lives, we remember the prophet,martyrs and saints who have gone before us: Deborah, Isaiah, Mary of Magdala, Peter, Martha, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan and all those we remember as heros and heroines in our church who inspire us today. (Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead. This list is only partial. Each community needs to create their own according to custom and culture.)
Voice Seven:  God of our dreams, may we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us everyday. May we give birth to the church of our dreams and hopes. May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth and live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother …

Presider:   Let us join hands and hearts and pray for peace in our world as we sing “Peace is flowing like a River”, love, joy, alleluia…., or other suitable hymn

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will do so.

Presider:   This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.  ALL: May we be who we are the Body of Christ.
Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

“Silent Night”
Presider:  God of new beginnings, thank you for nourishing us in your sacrament. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.
ALL: Amen.

Presider:  Our God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you.

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May our loving God fill us with radiant joy.  May our nurturing God fill us with  deep peace, and may our compassionate God bless us always with strength to serve the broken and excluded.  Amen.

Presider:  Let us birth Christ anew in our world today. Go in the peace of Christ.  ALL:   Thanks be to God.

Advent: “0 Come, 0 Come Emmanuel” , Joy to the World, Go tell it on the Mountain
Christmas:” Joy to the World”
Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests

Prayer Therapy for Healing, adapted from Affirmations from the Heart of God Part 8 by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver

Find a few minutes for this prayer therapy and a quiet place to be with the Divine Therapist.

1. Choose an area in your life in which you need to experience Gods love: for example, situation or relationship in your life that needs transforming, grief for the loss of a loved one, a resentment toward a specific person with all the emotional baggage that is attached to it, an addiction that has seemed impossible to break, a stress situation at work that will not gaway, a call to service.

2. Step into Divine Wisdom and open yourself to an awareness of Divine Presence in your life. Notice how different your life could be if this loss, relationship, addiction, stress, or service is transformed, illuminated with grace, love and peace. Then, invite Wisdom to open you to how God‘s love is working within you  in this situation.

3. Write down a positive statement that expresses God as comforting, healing, empowering, or doing what you most need God to do for you or through you right now. Some examples are
―I experience God‘s strength in me,
 ―I let go of my fear, doubt, or loss and let God fill me
with peace
―God, replace my need for alcohol/sex/food (or whatever else) with an
awareness of your infinite love
 ―God‘s love flows through me to (name of a person or

4. Repeat your affirmation often. Put written copies of your affirmation in places that will help you remember to repeat it. Repeating affirmations helps you act as if the positive belief or thought you desire is already reality. 
For example, when you repeat the words 
I experience Gods strength in me, 
you become filled with an awareness of Gods strength permeating your whole being. 
When you affirm that God is filling you with love, you experience this love transforming every aspect of your life.

During Advent Season, I will share stories and prayer practices for healing and wholeness from  Affirmations from the Heart of God  with my blog readers. On Nov. 10th, I shared the introduction to the book on this blog as Part 1.