In a message sent to the Americas on Dec. 12, a day the Catholic Church celebrates in honor of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Pope Francis, who was named Person of the Year this week by Time magazine, said that America is called to be “a land prepared to accept life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age.”
The Pope made his remarks during the course of the weekly general audience on Wednesday, and the message for the Americas was subsequently broadcast on Vatican Radio.
Dec. 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe because the Church approves and millions of Catholics believe that the mother of Jesus appeared to a Mexican peasant, Juan Diego, in Guadalupe in 1531.
Commenting on the special day, Pope Francis said, “When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a mestiza, and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture. Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life.”