Published diciembre 13, 2007 | Available In English
Those who are Catholic recognize her beloved image instantly, and many feel a deep bond with Mary, the mother of Jesus, that impels them in the practice of their faith each day.
And on Dec. 12, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory underscored the devotion of local Catholics by crowning a blessed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Cathedral of Christ the King and at the same time re-consecrating the North Georgia Catholic Church to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, some 50 years after it was first done when the diocese was established.
“Throughout the history of the Church, Mary has pursued her children in every land and in every century,” said Archbishop Gregory, sharing his perspective on the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe prior to the feast day.
“She is loved and revered across the globe. Early in our history as a local Church, we dedicated ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart—that font of love and maternal affection that links Her to Her Son and His perfectly gentle and merciful Sacred Heart. Now that we have grown—especially in the past few decades—to be a Church of many immigrant peoples, we have rediscovered Her in the person of Guadalupe—the Virgin whose appearance was a source of effective evangelization of all of the Mexican people.”
During a celebration of the Eucharist on her feast day at the Cathedral, Archbishop Gregory crowned an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of a number of identical images obtained from the basilica in Mexico, where they were especially blessed for the church in Atlanta. Ten other images were placed in selected parishes, chosen to cover the expanse of the diocese, and they were also to be crowned in feast day Masses.
The resplendent golden crown, created for the archdiocese, bears four important symbols.
The unity cross at the top of the crown shows Christ on the cross, with his mother holding a chalice under his pierced heart, catching the precious blood. At the foot of the cross, Mary became the mother of the church. Mary holds the needs of the world. The unity cross symbolizes the intimate and eternal union of Mary with Christ, through his death and resurrection.
The archdiocesan coat of arms on the crown is the symbol of the Catholic Church in North Georgia.
The five stones along the bottom of the crown represent the peoples of different races and cultures from across the world who have made their home in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The Catholic Church in Georgia encompasses people of all cultures, and Mary brings all people closer to each other to be one in Christ. The colors of the stones appear in the flags of the countries of the world and also represent the five traditional continents: America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
The wheat and grapes depicted on the front of the crown represent the Eucharist, the bread and wine that become Christ’s body and blood in the banquet of the Mass, the offering of Christ’s sacrifice. As his mother, Mary encourages the faithful to experience the true presence of Jesus in his sacred body and blood. Bread is also the fundamental human food, giving life. While bread satisfies hunger, wine signifies joy. Both bread and wine are the fruit of those who labor. Christ, the living bread, is the food and drink that feeds for eternity.
As he prepared to crown the image of Christ’s Blessed Mother, Archbishop Gregory reiterated the importance of the Marian image from Mexico to archdiocesan Catholics.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe is more than simply the Virgin of Mexico—she is the Empress of the Americas—the One whose love and devotion is poured out upon the peoples of this hemisphere in maternal love and protection,” he said. “This Archdiocese has spent the better part of a year renewing our knowledge of the Blessed Mother and in a special way of her Immaculate Heart and Her image as the Virgin of Tepeyac. She is our Queen and the One who loves us with a Heart that is most like that of Her Son.”