- On October 12th we celebrated the patronal feast of our church, Our Lady of the Pilar. Our Lady of the Pilar is a very ancient Spanish devotion. According to tradition, in around the year 40 A.D. Our Lady appeared to the apostle St. James in Zaragoza, Spain atop a column and gave him strength to continue his mission. Christopher Columbus consecrated his voyage of discovery to her as patroness of the Hispanidad. In the United States we celebrate Columbus Day on the same 12th of October because it is the date that he arrived in the New World. Our parish celebration included a triduum of special Masses and presentations leading up to the feast day which was celebrated with a procession through the streets.
- For the feast of Christ the King we organized a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Christ the King at Cubilete. This monument was built when the persecution of the Church was heating up just before the Cristero war as an act of defiance against the government and to commemorate the consecration of the country to the Sacred Heart. The first monument was consecrated by the papal nuncio who was then promptly expelled from the country the following day by the anticlerical government. The government destroyed or attempted to destroy the monument on more than one occasion. Cubilete is built on a mountain in almost the exact geographical center of the country. Not only did a bus full of parishioners from Guadalajara participate, but groups of traditional Catholics joined us from other parts of the country. Our goal is to eventually organize a walking pilgrimage similar to Chartres to this site and invite pilgrims from across the Americas.
- For the vigil of All Saints Day we had our annual All Saint ́s party. Children came dressed as the favorite saints and participated in various games and activities.
- All Souls Day is an important feast in Mexican Culture. The day is commemorated in different ways in different parts of the country. Some customs have Catholic origins while others have suffered corruption and paganization. In the state of Jalisco the altars of the dead are still common. Even in malls and public places you find altares de los muertos, and pan de muertos can be found for sale in all the supermarkets. Few people know these days that the altars they put up in their homes or in other places derive from the catafalques, which could sometimes quite elaborate, that were put up in churches. In our parish we set up the catafalque and received people’s prayer intentions for the novena of Masses for the deceased. Two of the Masses during the novena were solemn Masses with Tomas Luis de Victoria ́s polyphonic requiem Mass.
- In November we also finally officially confirmed that we will have our first priestly ordination in Guadalajara. On June 12th, 2020 Cardinal Burke will visit us to ordain Rev. Javier Ruiz Velazco Aguilar, who will be the first priest ordained from our parish. Around this event we are organizing the third Summorum Pontificum conference, which will include a variety of speakers and special activities to promote the traditional Mass. Further details will be announced shortly.
- The month of December is full of many important events. On the 12th we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a holy day of obligation in Mexico. In addition to Holy Mass, we led a rosary in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Andares shopping mall. This annual tradition also includes mariachi that plays after the rosary and the opportunity for shoppers to place a rose with their prayer intentions at the feet of the Virgin.
- Nine days before Christmas we begin the traditional Christmas posadas. This tradition seems to have originated in the New World as an adaptation of indigenous customs practiced at the same time of year. An Augustinian friar began celebrating a novena of Masses to remember Mary and Joseph ́s search for lodging in Bethlehem. The custom eventually evolved into a series of gatherings held in the homes of different parishioners. An image of the holy pilgrims is carried in procession while the rosary is played. Upon arriving at the door of the designated house a song is sung between two choirs, one inside the house and one outside that imagine Joseph asking for lodging, or posada. As the song progresses Joseph gradually reveals the identity of his wife whom he calls the Queen of Heaven. These posadas not only provide a wonderful opportunity to gather as a parish, but they also provide public witness to the faith. In fact, for many people the posada has lost its religious significance and because just an ordinary Christmas party that has little to do with Christ.
- One of our posadas was held at an orphanage that we visit each week to give catechism. The young girls that live there come from difficult family circumstances. Most are not orphans in the sense that they have lost both their parents. Rather, they spend the majority of their time living under the care of religious sisters because the family they do have cannot care for them adequately on their own. We brought our Maria Goretti girls ́ group to put on a traditional posada that included Mass, the rosary, piñatas, and of course, tamales. A collection was organized among a homeschool group in the Atlanta area to purchase gifts for the girls. We followed up the posada a few days before Christmas by visiting the homes where the girls from the orphanage would be for Christmas. Thanks to our generous benefactors both in Mexico and the United States we were able to bring Christmas dinners for them and their families. (Many of them admit to not being able to provide anything special in the way of a Christmas dinner, sometimes only eating beans and rice on Christmas.) We wish to extend a special thanks to the generous benefactors who made this work of charity possible.
- December saw the opportunity to celebrate Masses in new cities to see about the possibilities of establishing new apostolates. Fr. Heenan traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula and said Mass in Mérida and Cancún. A trip was also made to say Mass in Oaxaca where approximately 800 people attended. For New Year´s, Mass was also said in a town near Puerto Vallarta. More visits are scheduled to various places next year.
- From January 2-8 we hosted our third annual vocation retreat. This year 16 men attended from all over Mexico as well three men from Brazil. Thanks be to God, the number of candidates living in Casa Cristo Rey will increase to five as we continue preparing to establish one day a pre-seminary for candidates from Latin America. Now we need to buy a larger vehicle to transport everyone and expand our dining room to be able to share common meals more comfortably.