December 12, 2023 | Source & Summit
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen at St. Joseph Parish in Bowling Green in December 2022. COURTESY OF ST. JOSEPH PARISH

Source & Summit: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(The faithful) taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the source and summit of the whole Christian life, offer the Divine Victim to God, and themselves along with it. 

-The Second Vatican Council fathers in Lumen Gentium, #11

Source & Summit is a feature of The Western Kentucky Catholic online, celebrating the National Eucharistic Revival: Year of Parish Revival. Intended to help Catholics of our parishes to probe the riches of our liturgical year and celebrate the liturgy well, the column will always start with the Bible readings for the Mass of the Day to help us reflect on, and help to “unpack” and expand our experiences at liturgy into the domestic church (the home) and the workplace.

Sunday reflections will be based on the Lord’s Day, the Liturgy, the Eucharist, and, occasionally, community.


Tuesday, December 12, 2023:

 Source & Summit: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Zechariah 2:14—17

Judith 13:18—19

Luke 1:26—38


Flowers in December, the brown skin of the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and a request, all pieces of a story which has been carried from generation to generation for almost 500 years. Her story has been chanted, sung, tapped out to the beat of a solitary drum, and dramatically played out in churches, homes, and community spaces for years in the Diocese of Owensboro.

She charged her story to an Aztec man living in the midst of a society torn apart by greed and forced assimilation. St. Juan Diego, formerly Cuauhtlatoatzin (He Who Speaks Like The Eagle), was entrusted with a message for the Spanish church leaders of the time. In the Mexico of 1531, the Spanish colonizers had the power and the wealth, gained from the labor and stolen land of the indigenous people of the Americas. Although the Spanish did bring the truth of Christ, they also brought pain and devastation leading to violence and a disintegration of many cultures and languages. How could we make our way back from this chaos? Divine intervention was the only solution which Bishop Juan Zumárraga could fathom. Just like the story of salvation, no matter how low we can fall as a people, Christ is always ready to be present to our pain and unrest, with his mother, Mary, as our intercessor. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac on a cold December day with bird song to accompany her visit. She appeared to her “Littlest Son” dressed in royal Aztec colors and spoke to him in his native tongue, Nahuatl. She was veiled in stars, postured in front of the sun, and she stood on the moon. All of these symbols indicated to Juan Diego this: she was in fact the Queen of Heaven and Earth. She was brown-skinned, her hair parted down the middle, indicating she was not yet married, but wearing the black ribbon of pregnancy tied around her waist. A four-petalled flower, situated right above her womb, indicated she carried the Creator within. St. Juan Diego was to be her messenger, he was charged with carrying her story off of the Tepeyac.

As an educator and minister, I too have been charged with her story. I have shared it with young and old, to those who have known her for years and those who are hearing her story for the first time. I have found the importance of her story lies in this: Our Lady of Guadalupe saw St. Juan Diego and his people, their pain, sufferings, and longings for a world where Jesus died on the cross for all, not just the powerful and wealthy. She represents those who fight to have their voices heard when others choose to see them as less than. She challenges us because she is the counterweight to an imbalanced world where privilege is ascribed to certain people and denied to others. I pray this post is a launching point to getting to know Our Lady of Guadalupe and her story. Now you can be one of those messengers, ready to tell her story and be present to the pain of those most in need, ready to celebrate her intercession, and ready to receive Christ as the center of your world.

-Susana Solorza


To learn more about the Diocese of Owensboro’s celebration of the National Eucharistic Revival, visit


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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
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