The Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe is an important date for the two Americas since she is their patron saint. In addition, she is the patron of our Home, “Villa Guadalupe.” (The Little Sisters arrived in Gallup 31 years ago on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.) This year, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe our diocese opened a year of celebrations for the 75 years of the Diocese of Gallup.
We had the grace of having Bishop James S. Wall, bishop of Gallup, celebrate Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Bishop Wall had earlier opened the 75th anniversary celebration of the diocese.). Bishop Wall spoke of the evangelization that took place in the diocese, saying that this feast is very important for our diocese.
It is interesting to know that soon after Juan Diego told the bishop about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the people of Mexico began to come into the Church, one of the first places they went to evangelize was to the Zuni Indians. The Zuni’s are located about 30 minutes south of our Home in Gallup and are a part of our Diocese.
Later the Franciscans came to evangelize the Southwest, and have been present for 400 years. Finally, in 1985 the Franciscans established the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In our Home is Father Terence Rhoades, the eldest Franciscan from their Province, who has been a priest for more than 70 years. During his active ministry, Father Rhoades worked for many years in the mission in Zuni.
This feast is also a special day for our Sister Thomas, who celebrated her Jubilee of 70 years of Consecrated Life just a few months ago. Her actual date was December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.