A group of young Sydney pilgrims led by Bishop Richard Umbers are travelling to Mexico and the US for a 15-day pilgrimage culminating in the March for Life in Washington on 24 January. This is the first in their blog series sharing their ‘life-changing’ journey.
By Mary-Anne Feghali
Our first full day in Mexico left me in awe. Braving the cold, we ventured into some of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s amazing to think that Heaven will be infinitely more beautiful than these churches.
In one of the churches – the Church of St Francis – we happened across a statue of Baby Jesus. At His feet were an assortment of toys, including a stuffed toy of Patrick from Spongebob. The faithful in Mexico bring toys for the baby Jesus to please Him. How heartwarming it was to see Mexico’s love of children and life through their Adoration of the Baby Jesus!
In another Cathedral – that of the Most Blessed Mary (which happens to be the largest Cathedral in the Americas) – we sat ourselves down in a side chapel commemorating the two great Polish Saints, Sts Faustina and John Paul II.
There we prayed part of the Divine Chaplet. How crucial mercy is to the pro-life movement! Without mercy and compassion for all those implicated in abortion, we lack charity. Without charity, we labour in vain for the pro-life cause.
On the sanctuary of another beautiful church, Our Lady of Pilar, where Mass was celebrated by Bishop Umbers, 14 statues of saints spanned the space from the floor to the ceiling. I couldn’t help but rejoice! How crucial the saints are to the pro-life cause! How lucky we are to have an army of intercessors in heaven to gently guide us in defending life!
And the greatest, most humble, and most gentle of all saints has come to Mexico in the most amazing way. Our Lady of Guadalupe occupies a special part of Mexico’s heart and now a special place in my heart too. What especially moved me was the drastic change Mexico underwent after getting to know Our Lady.
The last place we visited was ‘Teotihuacán‘, the pyramids built during the Aztech empire. Human sacrifices were a daily ritual here for 800 years. Conversely, in current-day Mexico, it’s difficult to walk down a street in the city without seeing the Our Lady of Guadalupe icon – in churches, street stalls, hotels or engraved in buildings. How different Mexico is today in that it celebrates life rather than destroys it!
Our Lady of Guadalupe is not merely part of Mexican culture – she IS the Mexican culture.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, I love you. Pray for us!