Three of the Friars of the Immaculate and I drove to New Haven to St Mary's Church for the Guadalupe Celebration. Supreme Knight Carl Andersen and Monsignor Eduardo Chavez, the postulator for the Cause for Beatification for St Juan Diego and rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City were celebrating the launch of their new book, "Our Lady of Guadalupe" which is already on the bestseller lists.
The evening began with Holy Mass at St Mary's the Church where Fr Michael McGivney began the Knights, over a hundred years ago. The crowd overflowed to the basement where we watched on TV monitors as Msgr Chavez gave a talk after Mass. He explained the origin of the relic, a 1/2 inch sqare of the 500 year old cactus fiber cloth (such cloth normally dissolves after 15 years, but the tilma has survived bomb and acid attacks and the handling of the faithful for half a millenium. The relic was given to the bishop of Los Angeles by the rector of the Basilica for his support of the Mexican Church during the Mexican government's persecution of Catholics in the 1920's. Many Knights of Columbus gave their lives for the Faith in those dark days, offering themselves up to the firing squads with their arms in the form of the Cross, crying, "Que Vivo Cristo Rey" (Long life Christ the King) For this they were named "Cristeros".
The crowd, a multi-cultural mixture of old and young Catholics, then processed through the campus of Yale University, and the streets of New Haven to the Knights of Columbus Museum. Led by the statue with a small square of the actual tilma of St Juan Diego, the procession was enlivened by a mariachi band and dozens of Latin Americans in their brilliantly colored folk dance costumes, followed by young families with strollers, religious in long habits, and stately greying businessmen with their Knights lapel pins on their blue jackets. They were met with curious gaze of college professors and students, who asked us "What is this?". When we answered "a procession" one young scholar looking confused asked, "What's a procession?" Sometimes the simple confound the wise!
A true cross section of the Church arrived at the museum to a fiesta with free Mexican food and entertainment. Upstairs, a velvet rope guided rosary-praying pilgrims to a dark panelled room where they knelt to reverence the relic of Our Lady. In the lobby of the museum, Msgr Chavez and Carl Andersen were busy signing copies of their book. Of course, when I have read the book, I'll be reviewing it here.
Read the entire story on the Knights of Columbus website.