MADISON — The final event marking St. Thomas Aquinas (STA) Parish’s 50th anniversary was the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.
The jubilee celebration included a Mass with Msgr. Donn Heiar, pastor, that included music provided by the Diocesan Hispanic Choir, STA director of music Aaron Thompson, and the mariachi band Mariachi Sol Latino, and an entrance and recessional with the Ballet Folklorico Mexico de los Hermanos Avilo, a Madison-based group, performing traditional Aztec dance.
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| ||Msgr. Donn Heiar, center, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison, is pictured with two of the dancers from the Ballet Folklorico Mexico de los Hermanos Avilo after the Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. (Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner)|
During his homily Monsignor Heiar shared the story of the apparition of Mary to St. Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. Mary, revealed to him as the “ever virgin Mary, Mother of the True God, in whom we live, the Creator and Maker of heaven and earth,” told St. Juan to tell the bishop of Mexico to build a church in that place.
On the third apparition, after the bishop sent St. Juan away, demanding proof, Mary had St. Juan gather the roses at her feet in his tilma (cloak) to take to the bishop. When he presented the proof to the bishop, the roses fell away to reveal Mary’s image imprinted on the tilma.
“The apparition of Mary to Juan Diego gives such hope and promise,” said Monsignor Heiar. Her message was one of clemency, mercy, and unity, and converted nine million indigenous people to Catholicism within 10 years.
After Mass there was a Mexican fiesta, with music by Mariachi Sol Latino and food provided by the Madison restaurant La Bamba.