Saint Juan Diego was a Chichimec peasant and Marian visionary. He is believed to have been granted apparitions of the Virgin Mary on four occasions in December 1531.
According to readings, three of these four occasions happened at the hill of Tepeyac, near the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe which houses the cloak (tilmahtli) that is believed to be owned by Juan Diego. The fourth occasion, meanwhile, happened before Don Juan de Zumárraga, the then bishop of Mexico.
Juan Diego’s visions of the miraculous image of Mary— now known as the Guadalupe event— are the basis of the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The beloved saint’s testimonies about the Blessed Virgin are also what paved the way for the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to be recognized as the world’s major Catholic pilgrimage destination, having a record-breaking number of 22 million visitors in 2010 alone. (Read: 5 Most Beautiful Churches in the Philippines)
In 1990, Pope John Paul II traveled to Mexico City to preside over the beatification ceremony of Juan Diego. Twelve years later, in 2002, he returned to Mexico to canonize Juan Diego as a saint. Today, Catholics all over the world celebrate the feast day of Saint Juan Diego every 9th of December.
A Feast Day Prayer to Saint Juan Diego
Saint Juan Diego, you are our first American indigenoussaint. Please pray that God the Father would protect all migrants through his Son, Jesus Christ. Ask the Father to pour out the love of the Holy Spirit upon all who are isolated, alone and separated by choice or necessity from their native lands.
May those torn away from their families and forced to leave their country to find work elsewhere be reunited: husbands with wives and parents with children. We ask especially for migrant women and children who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of human trafficking. Give them your protection and shield them from evil.
May we as a Church receive the grace to welcome with love migrants who enter into our country, seeking a home in our parishes and communities. We ask for your prayers and intercession for all immigrants who are desperate, alone, and in need of God’s loving support.
And we ask Our Lady, who appeared to you as your Mother and Mother of all in our land, to wrap her mantle of protection around all migrant people. We beg for her love, compassion, help and protection on all immigrants who today experience great sufferings, sorrows, necessities and misfortunes.
Prayer from usccb.org.