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Pilgrims tour Mexico City

By Teresa Bodnar-Hiebert


The pilgrimage group from the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon gathers at the top of Tepeyac Hill, at the Capilla del Cerrito (Chapel of Tepeyac), site of the first three appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe to San Juan Diego. (Photo by Teresa Bodnar-Hiebert)

MEXICO CITY — A group of 16 pilgrims took part in the third annual pilgrimage and tour to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Feb. 2 - 11 with Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR, of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon.

“This pilgrimage will hopefully deepen your appreciation for your ministry of enculturated evangelization,” Bayda wrote in an opening letter to the pilgrims.

“How are you called to evangelize others? The Holy Family prepared Jesus for his ministry. Likewise, your family, the domestic church, has prepared you for your ministry. Your family was not perfect, perhaps, but it is where God nurtured you and taught you to love, forgive, hope, dream, pray, work and learn so much about the kingdom of God,” Bayda wrote.

As part of the pilgrimage, participants visited a number of places to better understand the full impact of the miracle at Tepeyac in 1531, when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a humble indigenous man, San Juan Diego.

The Saskatchewan group visited the National Museum of Anthropology, the Plaza of Three Cultures, the Teotihuacan Pyramids, and the Centro Historico Downtown Zocalo, in order to understand the many traditions and cultures that existed prior to Our Lady appearing to San Juan Diego.

The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe contains symbols that immediately spoke to many in that place and time. Understanding the past traditions and cultures is integral to fully appreciating the magnitude of the transformation to faith after Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared, the pilgrims learned, as they explored this miracle of “enculturated evangelization.”

A highlight of the pilgrimage included a visit to the bishop’s crypt underneath the Metropolitan Cathedral Zocalo — the resting place of Bishop Juan de Zumarraga. San Juan Diego went to the bishop many times until Our Lady sent the tilma filled with roses as the proof Zumarraga requested.

The group also visited the site of Our Lady of Ocotlan (also referred to as the “Lourdes of Mexico”) and San Miguel del Milagro (the apparition of St. Michael in Mexico), as well as stops at several other beautiful churches.

Organized by Bayda, Marlene Bodnar and Teresa Bodnar-Hiebert, the next pilgrimage will be held in February 2018.

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