By Christina Hermoso
Tomorrow, December 9, is the feast day of San Juan Diego, the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas.
The Patroness of the Philippines, Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared before San Juan, a native of Mexico, in 1531.
Masses will be held at the Chapel of San Juan Diego in South Cembo, Makati City to commemorate his feast day. Festivities will also be observed in Silay City, Negros Occidental in honor of its patron.
Venerated as the patron of indigenous people, San Juan Diego is considered as Our Lady’s messenger “to bring the Gospel to the Americas.”
According to stories, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared before him for the first time on Dec. 9, 1531 on Tepeyac Hill, (now Mexico City) in Mexico and requested that a church be built on the spot of her apparition.
Three days after, on December 12, the image of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared on St. Juan’s tilma (woven cloth), and this convinced the bishop of the authenticity of the apparitions.
The Basilica of Guadalupe, which is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year, has since been erected on the site.
St. Pope John Paul II canonized San Juan Diego on July 31, 2002 in Mexico.