The Knights of Columbus is sending the Pilgrim Image to parishes all over the U.S. for a day or two in its 2011-2013 Marian Prayer Program as part of the New Evangelization. Each of its 72 jurisdictions (each state, almost every province in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Dominican Republic, Guam, and Puerto Rico) has a copy of the image to circulate an image. This image touched the original image and the frame has some of the earth from where Mary appeared. See http://www.kofc.org/un/en/service/church/marian/index.html.
REVIEW OF THE VISIT OF THE PILGRIM IMAGE OF GUADALUPE:
THE MARIAN PRAYER PROGRAM OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
St. Louis Church Gallipolis December 11-December 16, 2012
Only eight weeks after receiving the statue of the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio was especially privileged and blessed to receive the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Knights of Columbus on her great feast day, December 12.
Very important was to prepare the people for the image on the two previous Sundays with announcements in the bulletin and from the pulpit. To really appreciate the image, it is imperative to understand the history and meaning of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Thus Paul Sebastian, one of the knights of Council 3335, wrote two bulletin inserts (2 pages each) to help to prepare the people for the Pilgrim Image. More detail and photos are included in two December blogs at http://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com.
After hearing that a member of one council didn’t even know who the image was after the visit, we asked our pastor to briefly explain from the pulpit the importance of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a little of its history since many don’t read the church bulletin and don’t regularly attend Mass every Sunday. We opened the viewing of the image to the public with a blurb in the local newspaper promised by the editor for five consecutive days and left the church opened through most of the weekend of December 14-16 in addition to the feast day itself on December 12.
The Knights of Columbus gave us no such information on the history and meaning of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe nor anything about what they were trying to accomplish with this wonderful initiative of their Marian Prayer Program. Thus we found on www.kofc.org the letter of Carl A. Anderson, the Supreme Knight on the “Mother of the Civilization of Love” (See http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/service/church/olog_letter.pdf) and read it to the membership at the Council meeting the day before the arrival. Furthermore, we put notices in the bulletin and send out e-mails to as many parishioners and knights as possible. We were, however, happy to receive prayer pamphlets and holy pictures that came with the image
Reception of the Image. Because of the death of one of our knights, Don Robinson, our 4th Degree members were occupied with being his honor guard, we did not welcome the image or send it off with a procession of knights in regalia nor did we have a 24 hour honor guard during adoration as we did with the visit of the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima October 14-15. To promote solidarity in the Council, it was proposed that the knights attend a Holy Hour specifically for the K of C, but we could not agree on a common hour.
Bruce Davison, an elder and former Grand Knight of Council 3335 St. Louis Church Gallipolis, picked up the 30 x 18 inch image from the council at Sacred Heart Church Pomeroy, Ohio on Tuesday, December 11. He placed it on a tripod in front of the main altar at St. Louis. At 5:30 pm Paul Sebastian gave a talk on the history and meaning of the image. This was followed by benediction and rosary. At 7:30 pm he gave another talk in the church basement on Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Unborn with a greater focus on how she transformed a Culture of Death among the Aztecs to a Culture of Life with a comparison to our own Culture of Death.
Eucharistic Adoration. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration for the next 24 hours through the night of December 11-12 into the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jaga Sebastian signed up two people to commit themselves to adoration during each hour. Often several would be there. At 9 am about 12 members of the Latin American community had an hour of rosary and guadalupan song in Spanish with a CD recording of a Mexican Mariachi band to accompany them in tribute to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Having lived near the shrine in Mexico City for a month of language training for my 14 year mission in Peru and visiting it every day, I was moved to tears. Following Mexican custom, they walked on their knees from the back of the church until each one touched the image. Other parishioners present were very impressed. Since Fr. William Myers, our pastor emeritus, with the prodding of Bruce Davison started a monthly Sunday afternoon five hour Eucharistic Adoration in about 2005 with 24 hour adoration for special occasions as the Prayer Vigil for Life December 8/9 and the Visit of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, this was our best participation ever for Eucharistic Adoration.
The image has an official certification from the Rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City as being an authentic copy. This is important because many copies have a slightly different tint and there are many versions. Just the same as the original image in Guadalupe, the facsimile looks even more beautiful and vibrant from a distance. The Catholic Women’s club put a bouquet of beautiful pink roses before the image along with a basket for petitions that would be offered at each Mass during the presence of the image.
Closing Days & Summary. The 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration was closed with a well attended Mass and benediction at 5:30 pm in the evening. The image remained on display below Mary’s altar and statue through the Masses of Sunday December 16. Then we packed the image in its protective case with this report enclosed and Keith Elliott, the Worthy Navigator of our 4th Degree Assembly, took the image to its next destination.
About 100 people attended the special opening talk, benediction, & rosary; the 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration; and Mass on the great feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12. Probably twice that number saw the image at the well-attended funeral on December 13 plus the three regular Masses of the weekend of December 15-16. Of course, these figures include double counting of people who saw the image more than once. The parish is small with about 120 families or 250 faithful.
In this way during the 2011-2013 Marian Prayer campaign of the Knights of Columbus, which includes the Year of Faith, Mary is continuing her great mission of nurturing our faith and bringing us closer to her son as she has done over the centuries.