Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to visit diocese
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Larry Walsh, a member of the spiritual life committee of Trinity Heights, pointed out that just as the visit was made possible six years ago from pro-life advocates Christine and Roger Wilson from the Omaha-area, this next visit is too. The image had just visited the Omaha area and there was a date for it to visit Sioux City.
He noted that the image works against the culture of death – war, terrorism, abortion, natural disasters - by promoting life, peace and protection of the unborn.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe gave a promise to St. Juan Diego. She said she was the Immaculate Conception and mother of mercy who intercedes with us to the divine mercy of her son Jesus,” noted Walsh, who added that it is appropriate the image will be visiting in the diocese April 26 and 27, not long after Divine Mercy Sunday.
The bishops of Mexico had commissioned to make this replica image in 1981 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe's appearance to Juan Diego. The image was blessed and stored near the original tilma that is housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. In 1991, the bishops of Mexico gave it to the United States to use as an evangelization tool. Since that time, it has made stops in hundreds of locations throughout the country and the image has been venerated by hundreds of thousands of faithful.
In Sioux City, the image will be on hand at several locations. The first stop for the image will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 26 outside of Planned Parenthood. The public is invited to gather there in prayer. The missionary image will then be present that night at the Spanish Mass that is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
The image will stay at the Cathedral of the Epiphany overnight and be present for Mass the next day, April 27, for the 10:30 a.m. fifth-grade Mass that will be celebrated by Bishop Walker Nickless.
That evening, a special prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. at Trinity Heights Queen of Peace service. Bishop Nickless will lead a pro-life rosary and the service will also include Scripture readings, reflection, an act of consecration and veneration of the image.
The prayer intention of that evening will be centered on the end of the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate.
“Our bishops have called upon each one of us Catholics and people of all faiths to prayer, penance and protest to our congressmen and senators against the Health and Human Services mandate that infringes upon our religious liberty in this nation,” said Walsh, who added that it was the Virgin of Guadalupe who was responsible for the end of human sacrifice in the 16th century in Mexico. “The time has come to banish from the continent once and for all every attack upon life. We are begging the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Queen of Peace to save the nations and the people of the continent.”
The diocese has many ties to Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the patroness of the Diocese of Sioux City, Trinity Heights Queen of Peace has a shrine devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the late Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe to be the Star of Evangelization, Mother of the Americas and protectress of the unborn.
When the image visited the Diocese of Sioux City six years ago, in March of 2006, organizers had no idea of what to expect in regards to response and in the end they were overwhelmed when hundreds came out to participate in the various opportunities for veneration.
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