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December 5, 2016

Music for celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe


The Blessed Virgin Mary, named Guadalupe, appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian Convert, at Tepeyac, near Mexico City on December 9, 1531. During a time of great suffering and loss, Mary, the Mother of God, brought hope, solace and spiritual strength to Juan Diego, “the smallest of my children.” “I will hear their lamentation and will remedy all their miseries, worries and suffering” (Nican Mopohua).

The “Mother of God, our Queen in Tepeyac, who is named Guadalupe” became the messenger of God’s presence in the Americas ushering the beginning of the new evangelization, giving birth to a new church. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the one Marian celebration common to all the Americas.

Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has an important role in the spirituality of the Indigenous and Mexican/Hispanic Catholics. Her message is prophetic of what is to come. A call to be ministers of compassion and goodness, to be advocates for the oppressed, spokespersons for the poor. The Message of Guadalupe reflects the Magnificat in Luke 1:51-52. An unequalled symbol of inculturation, the Gospel was given a form of expression that mirrored the culture, taking root and giving birth to the deep faith expression which celebrates St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatzin’s witness of humility, faithfulness to prayer and charity.

Music, “a symbol of the divine,” drew Juan Diego to Our Lady. Narrating “The Four Apparitions,” provides a catechesis. The celebration takes on many forms. The novena, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, “Serenatas” for Vespers, early morning on the Feast day or before the Eucharistic Liturgy all harmonizing with the Liturgy, which is central. The music, bright colors, roses, Matachines, food and hospitality all witness a “Faith” being celebrated, a faith, hope and love which is lived and extended.

A variety of music is available in the Spanish hymnals for this feast day. Canticles for Morning Prayer, Cántico de Zacarías, Juan Sosa and Evening Prayer, “Magnificat”, (Pedro Rubalcava). “Las Apariciones Guadalupanas”, which tells the story, can complement the Narrative Drama. “Viva la Virgen Ranchera” (Carlos Rosas), “La Virgen Guadalupe” (Fray Alejandro Ferreirós), “Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe”, “Virgencita del Tepeyac” (José Luis Castillo) and “Dios te Salve, María de América” (Alfredo Morales) are a few that may be included in the Serenata and in the Liturgy. The Bilingual Mass and Psalm settings are an excellent resource. Settings of the Magnificat: “Canto de Maria” by Joseph Lambert Luna, Juan Sosa and Alejandro Mejía are good choices for Communion processionals. Consider hymns with social justice themes which support the Message of Guadalupe, "Build a temple for all...I will hear their lamentations...remedy their worries and suffering." 

Mary Frances Reza

Mary Frances Reza

Mary Frances Reza is one of the grande dames of Hispanic music and ministry in the US. Known for her bilingual psalm settings, she remains active locally and nationally, working to ensure the ever-increasing role of Hispanics in the Church.

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