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Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe: What a Graceful Ride!

Written By Marissa Romero, 206 Tours Pilgrim

Words given to San Juan Diego by Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531.

Words meant for all who seek Her graces.

Three months have passed since the Women of Grace-206 Tours pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City.

The pilgrims, soaked in a shower of graces from Our Blessed Mother as Our Lady bestows her gifts upon everyone who seeks her help, should confidently embrace and acknowledge such graces as they unfold throughout their life journey.

“I want you to hold on to the treasury of graces you received, to ask Our Blessed Mother to take you into those mysteries of grace … to ask Her to unpack them with you,” said the pilgrimage leader, EWTN Women of Grace, Johnnette Williams, in a video message sent to all the pilgrims after returning home.

Fr. Leonard Mary, EWTN Director of Communications, also encourages the pilgrims to appreciate the gifts received during this pilgrimage.

“Look back on the tremendous blessings we received while on pilgrimage. All of it was through the prayers and love of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he said.

Visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and encountering San Juan Diego’s tilma with the living image of the Virgin Mary is in itself a blessing of love.

Displayed in Our Lady’s Basilica in México City, St. Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak, bears the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe since 1531.

“I think She gives love to all who visit there and directs them to love and serve Jesus.”

Indeed, as written in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ Mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you” (2:5).

“Her image on tilma reminds me of all that,” said Fr. Leonard. “She called us there to affirm us of God’s and Her unconditional love for us.”

Climbing Tepeyac Hill, the site where Our Lady appeared to San Juan Diego, on the eve of December 12, Her feast day, becomes a monumental challenge as thousands gather to honor Her.

“Walking up Tepeyac Hill was amazing. It was so crowded, and I don’t know how many feet I stepped on. But everyone was so happy, and no one took offense,” said pilgrim Lisa Collins, Arizona Courts retired manager in Avondale, Arizona.

“The love of Our Lady was truly there … there was joy all around.”

Looking at the old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Tepeyac Hill in México City.

Faythe Anne Papp, Sidewalk Advocate for Life and Sacramental Instructor at Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria, Florida, said she climbed Tepeyac Hill “among the ‘sea of humanity,’ ascending and descending down all those stairs.”

“[It] felt like we were climbing into heaven.”

The “sea of humanity” included Mexican people who walked long distances from their towns, others who rode bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and trucks, all adorned with flowers and images of the Virgin Mary, and people who came from abroad.

Pilgrims walk on their knees as a offering of petition and thanksgiving for favors received through Our Lady of Guadalupe’s intercession.

December 9–12, 2023, marked the 492nd anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition to San Juan Diego. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported that, according to local authorities, more than 11 million people arrived at the Basilica of Guadalupe to celebrate her feast day.

Stunned by the devotion of the Mexican people to Our Lady, Papp said, “I was completely moved by [their] tremendous faith … I had never witnessed such faith in such numbers.”

206 Tours pilgrimage guide, Luis Fernando Castañeda, as a licensed expert on the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and affiliate with the Superior Institute of Guadalupan Studies in Mexico City, shared with the pilgrims his tower of knowledge about Our Lady and the culture and history of México.

Captivated by the pilgrims’ camaraderie and faith, he said, “I had a delight and growth experience in the pilgrimage watching so much love shared with a group of so many people who share one faith.”

“Everyone truly came together in Christian unity,” added Castañeda.

PHOTOS: Women of Grace-206 Tours pilgrims express their shared Catholic faith by honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in procession through the streets of México City while carrying a decorated float with flowers and ribbons with their written intentions.

Sharing a personal learning experience from this pilgrimage, Papp said, “Our Lady taught me to trust in God because He would never abandon us when we most needed Him.”

Also, returning to the idea of unpacking the graces received from Our Lady during the pilgrimage, she reflected, “Our Lady graced me on her special feast day and continues to grace me now in her loving and protected ways!”

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