The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Map of the Shrine
|1. Chapel of Tepeyac
|2. Old Basilica
||7. Chapel of the Indians
|3. New Basilica with Baptistry
||8. Chapel of the Well
|4. Plaza of the Americas
5. Capuchin Chapel
1. Chapel of Tepeyac - On this site once
stood the Aztec temple to Tonantzin, our venerated mother, mother of the gods. It is here
that the true Mother of God chose to appear to Juan Diego and supplant the idolatrous
worship of the indigenous peoples with worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father and
the Holy Spirit. In this chapel the holy image initially was venerated, cared for by Juna
Diego, who lived on the premises. Today only a replica hangs here, the original image is
in the modern basilica.
2. Old Basilica - begun in 1695
and finished in 1709 this basilica succeeded the Chapel of Tepeyac as the shrine of the
Image. However, because Mexico (City) is built on a lake bed the basilica has both settled
and been subject to the ravages of the earthquakes experienced by the city. Today it is
leaning considerably and has been closed for the safety of the public.
2a. Statue - Standing
adjacent to the Basilica, between the old and new one, is a statue of Pope John Paul
II, dedicated in 1981 to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the apparitions and the first
anniversary of the Pope's initial visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
3. New Basilica, with its round Baptistry
(3a)- dedicated in 1976 the new basilica can hold 20,000 people and gives
an unobstructed view of the Image and the altar to all. There are 1000 subterranean
pillars to support the structure, but no internal ones. Between the altar and the wall
upon which the Image hangs is a space where the people can pass on a conveyor belt system
to view the Image above. Each day from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., the
Holy Mass is celebrated each half hour for the sake of the pilgrims.
An attempt in the '20s to blow up the Image
bent this candlestick. The Image, only a few feet away, was unharmed.
The Image as seen from
the altar area
The vault door leading to the Image from behind.
4. Plaza of the Americas - a great open plaza
permits the attendance of many hundreds of thousands beyond those who can enter the
Basilica. On such occasions the front walls of the Basilica can be rolled aside permitting
a view of the interior from the Plaza. Here often can be seen various peoples singing,
dancing and exhibiting the culture and costumes of their regions for visitors - a
testimony to the unity of the various indigenous peoples in the Catholic faith which has
been accomplished by the Virgin of Guadalupe. Here also, as at other religious shrines in
Latin countries, can be seen penitents completing the last stage of their journey to Our
Lady on their knees.
5. Capuchin Chapel - the parish
church of the region, it has also suffered from sinking. It is believed that Juan Diego is
buried on the site.
Old Basilica and Capuchin Chapel
6. Carillon - Completed in 1991
this bell and clock tower shows computerized images representing the four apparitions of
Our Lady to Juan Diego, as a means of catechesis. Standing 76.5 feet tall, it can play 38
different chimes and 23 melodies.
7. Chapel of the Indians - this
first church on the site is a especially frequented by native Americans.
8. Chapel of the Well - dedicated in
1777 this chapel is built over a sulphurous spring from pre-Columbian times, one that is
reputed to have medicinal properties.
9. Galleon - the masts of a ship were
carried to the site in the 1700s, in fulfillment of a vow to build a shrine on Tepeyac if
Our Lady would save the ship's crew from a tropical storm. The masts were carried on the
backs of the sailors from Vera Cruz on the coast to Tepeyac and today are encased within
the modern monument.