Catholic Sentinel photos by Gerry Lewin
Valeria Carrillo holds her sons  Bradley, 4,  and Bruce, 6, during the ceremony.
Catholic Sentinel photos by Gerry Lewin
Valeria Carrillo holds her sons  Bradley, 4,  and Bruce, 6, during the ceremony.
EUGENE — Archbishop John G. Vlazny gathered with hundreds of worshipers who came for an Our Lady Guadalupe Mass Dec. 12 at Marist High School here.

"In truth, through baptism we are all followers of Guadalupe," the archbishop said in a homily delivered in Spanish. "Just like Juan Diego we are messengers of the good news of our Savior. It is precisely because we are baptized that we have the responsibility to carry out the good and saving works of Jesus, the Son of Mary, today in this time and here in this place."

The miraculous Guadalupe image, which has baffled scientists who examine it, is more than just a drawing, the archbishop said. Somehow, it communicates Mary's true presence.

Mary appeared to a humble native man, Juan Diego, in 1531 and sought to console a confused, conquered people. To convince local church authorities of her request to build a church, roses bloomed in winter and the image of Mary appeared on Juan Diego's cloak.

"Yes, the roses bloom once again in December when the Mother of God brings us our Savior," the archbishop told the crowd, reminding them of the Advent season. "The humble and lowly of this world become heirs to the kingdom of glory. Truly, nothing is impossible with God."

The archbishop asked worshipers to observe the Year of Faith, in which Pope Benedict hopes all will "strengthen our friendship with God through his Son Jesus and Jesus’ holy mother Mary." The archbishop urged the crowd to invite relatives, friends and neighbors to join the Catholic family.

This was the archbishop's first time in Eugene for the Guadalupe feast. News of his coming energized preparation for the celebration.      

Norma Ouellette, coordinator of Hispanic ministries at St. Alice Parish in Springfield, helped Father David Jaspers organize the liturgy, along with a committee made up of Floribella Rivera, Josefina Cardenal, Celia San Pedro, Alma López, Ferdinando Montes, Juan Silva, Ismael Mora and Omar Moreno. Catholics in the whole city, Hispanic or not, were invited.

“Father Jaspers wanted us to be together and celebrate together this important tradition of faith," Ouellette told El Centinela. She explained that the celebration is not only a Mass, but a "Mexican tradition that gathers everyone as one family."

During prayers of the faithful, petitions were read in a panoply of languages —  Spanish, English and dialects from Mexico and the Philippines.

Organizers like Omar Moreno from St. Mark in Eugene say the feast of Guadalupe is an important part of spirituality and tradition. "She is everything to me," Moreno says. "It is so deep inside my heart that I cannot verbalize how much she means to me.”

— Translations by Katy Devine