The following comes from a December 15 Angelus post by Archbishop Gomez:
I have long believed that the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was the true spiritual foundation of all the nations of the Americas, including the spiritual and moral foundations of the United States.
As we know, the great founding father of the United States, St. Junípero Serra, consecrated his mission to the Virgin, making a pilgrimage of more than 300 miles on foot to the Virgin’s shrine upon arriving in the Americas.
We all live in the tender eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Virgin’s words to St. Juan Diego are a source of comfort and courage as we make our way in the world: “Am I not your mother? Are you not under my shadow and my gaze? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not sheltered underneath my mantle, under the embrace of my arms?”
This year it struck me also — that is why Our Lady gave us the tilma. Why? So we would have a picture, an image of her face. So we could see the tenderness in her maternal eyes. It is amazing to think about it. Our Lady gave us a picture of her face. She wanted us to see for ourselves — just how much she loves us.
As we know, we are blessed to have a tiny piece of the tilma in our chapel in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This is the only place in the world outside of Mexico City where you see a part of the tilma that St. Juan Diego wore and that was touched by our Blessed Mother!
For me, this relic is a national treasure, one of the great symbolic artifacts of the history of the Americas. And I pray that devotion to the Virgin will increase and strengthen in our country, among all peoples. I pray that we might all come together as one family and rejoice that we are all children of the Virgin of Tepeyac and that the Christian identity of the Americas — of all the peoples of the Americas — finds its heart in her.
And do you know how this piece of the tilma came to us? It was a gift, a gift of gratitude. It was given to us by the Archbishop of Mexico in thanksgiving, to honor my predecessor, Archbishop John Joseph Cantwell, for his courage and help in sheltering refugees fleeing persecution in Mexico during the time of the Cristeros. This legacy is important in this time of uncertainty for immigrant and refugee families.