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"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

 

The Christmas Novena

Laura DeMaria

It's time to pray the Christmas novena! Join your prayers and love with those of everyone else in the Pray More Novenas community, starting December 16. What intentions will you pray for? This is a good time of year to pray for unity in our country and families; for gratitude for all that we have; and for guidance as the new year begins. 

What else happened this week? Well, it was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Last weekend I had some time to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which has so many beautiful Marian images, and here is a picture I took in the crypt church.

The little grotto in the crypt always gets me. "I am the Immaculate Conception." Can you imagine hearing those words?

 

The Blessed Mother crowned as Queen of Heaven and earth, as seen in a mosaic at the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The Blessed Mother crowned as Queen of Heaven and earth, as seen in a mosaic at the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

And today is the feast day of Saint Juan Diego, the Mexican peasant to whom the Blessed Mother appeared on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City, and who we now know as Our Lady of Guadalupe. "La Guadalupana," as she is also called, is my favorite Marian apparition and the closest to my heart. Her feast day is coming up on December 12. She is the patroness of the Americas and the reason for the entire conversion of the people of Mexico over about two years. And to us she says, "Am I not here, I who am your mother?"