142 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
The tilma that bore Mary’s image soon became an object of venera-
tion. In 1533 a small chapel was built on the site of the apparitions to house
the cloak with its miraculous image. Today, just below Tepeyac Hill stands
the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where the tilma can be seen just
as it was seen by the bishop in 1531. The church is a triumph of contem-
porary architecture incorporating many facets of Mexican culture and
spirituality, and it creates a warm, prayerful, and welcoming environment.
Pilgrims, on foot or on their knees, often bearing roses, slowly process to
the enshrined image. They come to ask favors of the merciful Mother or to
give thanks for her tender and compassionate response to their prayers.
A moving walkway for pedestrians is set behind and beneath the sanc-
tuary so that pilgrims can get a closer look at the image of Our Lady of
Guadalupe displayed on the sanctuary wall. Despite the constant river of
pilgrims, the shrine is quiet and meditative. The crowds are not a distrac-
tion to those who come to worship in the body of the basilica.
Pilgrims still climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill to visit the original chapel
and the site of the apparitions. They can also visit the room where Juan
Diego spent his last years in prayer and in propagating the account of the
apparitions to his countrymen. Through Mary under the title of “Our Lady
of Guadalupe” and through the evangelizer St. Juan Diego, many of the
native peoples of Mexico were converted to Christianity and were baptized
into the Church. As a place of pilgrimage, this shrine ranks among the most
popular in the world, attracting over ten million pilgrims each year.
Mary appeared at Tepeyac as a young, pregnant woman of indig-
enous descent. She revealed herself as Mary, the true Mother of God, a
merciful mother who listens to the suffering of her people and consoles
them all. As her image was imprinted on Juan Diego’s tilma, so Mary
becomes imprinted in the deepest recesses of the hearts of all who come
to her. Under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary is the patroness of
the Americas. There are millions of Catholics in the United States whose
devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and regard for St. Juan Diego help
keep our faith and commitment to evangelization alive. The feast of Our
Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12.
Pope John Paul II beatified Juan Diego in 1990. In 2002 the same pope
canonized him at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church cel-
ebrates the feast of St. Juan Diego on December 9.
St. Juan Diego is in the company of numerous others who have
been privileged with a vision of the Virgin Mary, such as St. Bernadette of