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Decree Concerning the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe to be celebrated annually on December 12 in all America


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Prot. 803/99/L

In consenting to the Divine Word, Mary, the daughter of Adam, became the Mother of Jesus and, while embracing the salvific will of God with a full heart and unburdened by any sin, she devoted herself completely as the handmaid of the Lord to the person and works of her Son, serving the mystery of redemption under Him and through Him by the grace of God. She poured Life itself into the world, renewing all things, and appearing for us as a Mother in the order of grace as well. Finally, raised to the glory of heaven, she accompanies the Continued pilgrim Church always and everywhere with motherly love, so that the Church, contemplating the image of her own perfection and mission in the holy God-bearer (Theotokos), may instruct all nations with the praise of the Gospel's salvation, and, by the working of the Holy Spirit, fill the whole world with children of a new people. For this reason, the Christian people greatly revere this Mother and Queen, and invoke her aid in the difficulties and trials of life, so that she may obtain grace for them by the mercy of God.

The close relationship between this Tender Mother and the Christian faithful in America was manifested in a wonderful way on the hill known as Tepeyac, where the Mother of God under the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe was already fervently honored for four centuries as the Empress of all the Americas, signifying by her own appearance the necessity of a perfect union of the Word of God with the humanity of native peoples in evangelizing this Continent. Hence, from the beginning of the modern age, she offered an extraordinary example of care particularly for the poor and the indigenous. This cult of the Virgin has been spread by continual observance even to the present, so that, in approaching the third millennium of the Savior's incarnation, the members of the Special Synod of Bishops of America, at the close of their meeting in Rome in 1997, fervently invoked blessed Mary, Virgin of Guadalupe, as Patroness of all America and as the star of both the first and now of the new evangelization of this same Continent.

Likewise, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, acceding to the requests of the synod Fathers, and joyfully receiving their recommendation, recalled on the first anniversary of the Plenary Council for Latin American, assembled in Rome, through his Apostolic Exhortation Eccelsia in America (The Church in America), promulgated on 22 January, l999 in Mexico City, and then graciously approved in his homily on the following day, delivered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that in all America the celebration of Blessed Mary, the Virgin of Guadalupe, is to be observed henceforth with the rank of feast, thereby earnestly desiring that this same Virgin, through whose intercession the faith of the first disciples was strengthened, would lead the Church of this Continent with her maternal love and that she would obtain an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church so that a new evangelization might flourish by the witness of Christian life.

Therefore, this Dicastery declares that this feast be inscribed into the calendars of each nation and territory of America on 12th day of December, so that in each diocese of that Continent it may be celebrated on the same day annually, while with the rank of a solemnity where those concessions have been permanently granted by the Apostolic See by decree or norms already in effect, in favor of the same territories and their churches.

To those texts already approved for this celebration may be added the Spanish texts attached to this decree which may be used henceforth and are hereby declared editiones typicae. Indeed, other vernacular editions must be devised according to the norm of law, and approved by the Episcopal Conference and confirmed by the Holy See.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline for the Sacraments, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, 25 March 1999.

Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estevez

Marius Marini

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