Birmingham: image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St Chad's

Archbishop Longley and congregation with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Archbishop Longley and congregation with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was displayed during a special Day for Life service led by Archbishop Bernard Longley, at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon. Archbishop Bernard presided at Benediction and led the Rosary prayers.

At the start of the service the Archbishop of Birmingham, who was assisted by Canon Patrick Browne, Administrator of St Chad's Cathedral, said: "Today the Church in England and Wales celebrates the Day for Life. This day was initiated by Pope John Paul II to acknowledge and promote the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to its natural end.

"Each year the Day for Life takes a theme. This year's theme is: Lord, for your faithful people Life is changed, not ended.

"This phrase taken from one of the prefaces used at a Funeral Mass, emphasises the Christian meaning of death: the place of the sacrament of the sick, prayer for the dead, and the importance of accompanying the dying person as he or she journeys towards God."

Archbishop Longley said: "As we keep the Day for Life here at St Chad's Cathedral, we are pleased to have the relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"In December 1531 the Virgin Mary appeared to St Juan Diego. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a sign reminding us to respect and honour human life. She appeared during the Season of Advent; she appears pregnant with child so has become the Mother of Life."

He added: "For fourteen years with the approval of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict several official images of Our Lady of Guadalupe have been venerated in various places throughout the world. This image, today at St Chad's, is one of them."

Eight weeks to the day before the Beatification of Cardinal Newman on Sunday 19 September, the service began with the singing of his well-known hymn Lead Kindly Light, and included his famous prayer:  "May He support us all the day long... "

For further information about Day for Life see: www.dayforlife.org