In one of the days on the liturgical calendar leading up to Christmas, Roman Catholics throughout the nation marched in the streets on Monday and walked long distances to make pilgrimages for the “Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” which marks the purported apparition of Mary in Mexico during the 1500’s—a legend that some say is contrary to the word of God.
“Celebrating Mary is, above all, to remember our mother, to remember that we are not and never will be an orphan people,” Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, delared during a mass in Rome at St. Peter’s Square. “We have a mother! … And where there is the mother, brothers may quarrel but a sense of unity will always prevail.”
The service included music in Nahuatl, Quechua, Mapuche and Guarani in recognition of the Mexican aspect of the observance. According to EWTN News, Bergoglio had traveled to Mexico earlier this year to visit a shrine and basicila there decidated to Mary.
Roman Catholic legend believes that in 1531, Mary appeared to an Aztec Indian named Juan Diego and requested that a church be built that “your people may experience my compassion.”
“All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my mother’s heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace,” she is reported as stating, also telling Juan Diego’s uncle to “[c]all me and call my image Santa Maria de Guadalupe.”
In 1945, Pope Pius XII declared the Lady of Guadalupe the “Patroness of all the Americas,” and a feast day was set on the liturgical calendar for Dec. 12.
Norberto Rivera, the cardinal of Mexico City, asked for Mary’s intervention on Monday, requesting that she move on the heart of Donald Trump in regard to Mexican immigrants living in America.
“O merciful mother! Move the hearts of Americans so they make room for those who, with their hard work have given prosperity to their country, and touch the hardened heart of the new president-elect who being a Christian—as he has declared—so he cannot see the poor and the immigrants as enemies but rather as brothers with whom he must be tolerant, generous and just,” he said.
The day was also observed in cities throughout America, including in San Antonio, Texas, where an estimated 200 Catholics held a 17-mile walk in commemoration of the day. The Chicago Tribune reports that thousands participated in an observance at Des Plaines’ Maryville Academy in Illinois, some trekking for miles, bringing flowers and carrying images of Mary.
And in Washington, D.C., a procession was held in the streets, complete with singing, flowers, banners and decorated images of the Lady of Guadalupe, followed by an indoor ceremony featuring Aztec dancing. A two-hour procession was likewise held in New York City with an estimated 1,000 participants.
But Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries in Plano, Texas told Christian News Network that the legend and its observance is unbiblical and should be compared to Scripture.
“No one should believe in apparitions without testing every spirit with the Word of God (1 John 4:1),” he said. “The Lord Jesus warned us of lying signs and wonders that would deceive people. He said, ‘For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Mat. 24:24).'”
Gendron also stated that it is unprofitable to ask Mary—long deceased—for help, and that the Bible teaches that man can go to the Father Himself through Christ.
“There is no record of any God fearing person in the Bible praying to anyone other than the omnipresent, omniscient God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he noted. “The practice of calling up the dead or contacting a medium is an abomination to God (Deut 18:10:12). Why would anyone seek Mary for help when we have the Lord Jesus who is our great High Priest and Creator? He is full of mercy and grace.”
He encouraged Catholics to hold every doctrine, practice and tradition against the light of Scripture.
“Satan, who is the master deceiver, continues to lead people astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3),” Gendron stated. “I would encourage Catholics to keep their eyes on the author and perfecter of the Christian faith (Heb. 12:2). He alone is deserving of all praise, honor and glory! The only way to avoid being deceived is to abide in God’s Word, then you will know the truth and be set free from deception (John 8:31-32).”