By Father Santiago Rubio
The events that took place 10 years after the conquest of Mexico in 1531, gave rise to modern Mexico. History confirms the impact of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the birth, development, and history of Mexico. This impact explains why the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe is present in the soul, life, and culture of Mexico. Since then, the Virgin of Guadalupe has served as a key religious symbol, a link among Latin American people, and a spiritual presence for many other people on Earth.
The community of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe invites you to participate in the upcoming Congress—an event of culture and faith. The Congress will be conducted in Spanish and will be held on Saturday, October 14th at 328 West 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). We will begin at 9:00 a.m., with coffee and sweet bread, and end at 7:00 p.m. with the Eucharistic Celebration. During the day, there will be lectures, songs, and prayer.
We also invite you to participate in the festivities of Our Lady of Guadalupe from December 1st through the 12th. Daily Mañanitas and the Eucharist will begin at 5:00 a.m. The Rosary and the Eucharist will start at 6:00 p.m. On December 11th, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., there will be a vigil of prayer and mariachi music. On December 12th, there will be a Eucharistic celebration every hour on the hour.
The conquest of Mexico decimated the native population. The wars, epidemics, and spiritual castration left Mexicans in an existential vacuum. Submission to enslavement, ruthless exploitation, theft of property and land, and the destruction of codices, temples, educational and cultural centers, caused the surviving natives tremendous humiliation and hopelessness. Fear, spiritual emptiness, and confusion led many to suicide, alcohol, apathy, and internal rebellion.
The new people were born from the convergence of natives and Spaniards. The foundation of modern Mexico was the mass acceptance of the Virgin of Guadalupe by two peoples who accepted Jesus and thus came together with the bond of faith. Jesus, presented as the one who gives his life for us, ended the human sacrifices and wars. The acceptance of Jesus by the natives put an end to the historical enmity of the Aztec Empire, making peace possible. The Virgin laid the foundation for peace and unity and thus fostered the new, modern Mexico.
The Shrine of Guadalupe was the birthplace of the new Mexico. It brought a new worldview, new faith, and the capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation. The Virgin of Guadalupe embodied the new people: mestizo and Catholic—people who were able to achieve their independence from Spain.
A century after the apparitions, the Virgin of Guadalupe became the central element of Mexico’s national identity. For insurgent father Jose Maria Morelos, Our Lady of Guadalupe set us free.
Father Santiago Rubio has served as the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard’s since 2010. Before that, he was the parochial vicar of St. Brendan’s and Sacred Heart, both located in the Bronx. A native of Mexico, Father Rubio was ordained there in 1980 and incardinated into the archdiocese in 2010.