Expert on Our Lady of Guadalupe named master theologian on apparitions

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ACI Prensa Staff, May 14, 2024 / 15:52 pm

Father Eduardo Chávez, director of the Higher Institute of Guadalupan Studies and postulator of the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego, was recently confirmed as “master Guadalupan theologian” by Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, the primatial archbishop of Mexico.

The decision was made May 9 in conjunction with the Chapter of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, headed by its rector, Father Efraín Hernández.

Chávez, who also holds a doctorate in Church history from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, his gratitude for this appointment, committing himself to “deepen knowledge of the Guadalupan event, to disseminate it throughout the world.”

Chávez noted that “the Virgin of Guadalupe places Jesus in the heart of every human being, of every culture,” so his work as master Guadalupan theologian is to convey this message as well as “deepen, investigate, analyze, and in so doing also form” more people in the “Guadalupan event,” as the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico are also known.

The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to the Aztec Indian St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill Dec. 9–12, 1531, expressing her wish that a Catholic church be built on the flat area at the foot of the hill.

Juan Diego then went to see the first bishop of Mexico, Franciscan Friar Juan de Zumárraga, to present Our Lady’s request. As proof of the veracity of the apparitions, the Indian brought the flowers Our Lady told him to cut from a non-native rose bush miraculously growing out of season on Tepeyac Hill.

To carry the flowers, Juan Diego folded his tilma or cloak over them. When he opened the tilma to present the flowers to the bishop, those present saw that the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on the cloth.

The tilma of St. Juan Diego is currently preserved in the Guadalupe Basilica, situated at the foot of Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City.

Since 1978, Chávez has been immersed in the study and dissemination of the message of the Virgin of Guadalupe, playing an important role in the beatification process (1990) and the subsequent canonization of St. Juan Diego (2002).

The priest was also one of the founders of the Higher Institute of Guadalupan Studies in 2003, together with Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, then primatial archbishop of Mexico, and the late Monsignor José Luis Guerrero, who was the vice postulator of the cause of canonization of St. Juan Diego. The ISEG, created from research and studies approved by the Holy See, has become the main center to continue the study of the Guadalupan event.

Chávez said that his work is guided by the message of the “Morenita del Tepeyac,” an affectionate term that refers to Our Lady’s brown mestiza complexion on the tilma. The priest shared that he finds his work “very moving and exciting,” an assignment “I definitely don’t deserve.” However, he trusts that “it is the Virgin of Guadalupe who is present throughout all of this.”

Chávez’s appointment becomes even more relevant with the 500th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico approaching in 2031, as well as the Extraordinary Jubilee of the Redemption in 2033, which will commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

According to Chávez, various activities and events are being planned, with the theme “Going to Jesus through Mary” in line with the preparations for these dates.

In addition, he explained that the Holy See is collaborating through the Pontifical International Marian Academy along with other institutions such as the Pontifical University of Mexico.

“It’s incredible what the Virgin of Guadalupe is doing: She is more powerfully present than ever in so many things, and we see it there in the basilica when so many pilgrims come from Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, the United States, not to mention all of Latin America,” Chávez said.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


Diego López Colín

Diego López Colín is a graduate of the Carlos Septién García School of Journalism (Mexico). He has been a correspondent for ACI Prensa in Mexico since 2023.

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