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Papal Legate Visits Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

  October 8, 2021 ~ Fran Ruchalski

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Bishop Felipe Estévez of St. Augustine, and Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid and the papal legate for the Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of La Leche, celebrated Mass at the Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche on Friday evening, Oct. 8, 2021.

Cardinal Osoro Sierra and Father Jóse Luis Segovia arrived in Jacksonville Friday afternoon. Bishop Estévez picked them up from the airport and drove them to the shrine in High Springs.

St. Madeleine Sophie Parish shares its campus with the Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. The small 30-seat chapel was renovated and established as a shrine at the request of Bishop Estévez in 2015. He wanted the faithful in the western counties of the diocese to have a place close by to pray to Our Lady of La Leche.

Before Mass, Bishop Estévez escorted the cardinal on his first visit to the shrine. Afterward, Bishop Estévez said the cardinal was visibly moved upon seeing the image of Our Lady of La Leche in the chapel.

Cardinal Osoro Sierra expressed his emotions in the homily he gave at Mass as translated by Bishop Estévez.

When the cardinal first contemplated the image, he saw how the mother and baby were locked in a tender embrace so close to her heart.

He realized that as important as the cross and so many things are to the basis of the faith, it is the affection, the endearment which Our Lady typifies that give us all a way to receive the faith.

“In that very warm embrace of Mother and Child, she has something to teach us. First of all, she teaches the greatness of the Lord and how we are to embrace him.” And she teaches us how important it is for God to be at the center of our lives.

When we realize what she is saying, she recognizes that each of us is a child, a son, a daughter of God. And that shared affection is supremely important. Being a child of God makes all things different. And makes our lives completely new and renewed, the cardinal said.

The cardinal explained Our Lady proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Jesus confirms this when he says we are to love God and to love our neighbor. When we reach out to God and our neighbor, we are responding to the greatness of Our Lord. We are putting into practice his greatness by our love for others.

“In this revelation of greatness, we come to realize how much we are loved. Even if we go on our way, He never leaves us. Because He always loves us. As a child, He leads us to the joy of being in that love. And that joy we are to share with others.”

The joy of the Lord is a gift, and we need this gift in our hearts. It is knowing that we have this affection and are loved by God that helps us to rise above the most difficult moments of our lives.

Volunteers of the shrine prepared a meal for the guests of honor before leaving to prepare for the coronation festivities planned for Saturday and Sunday in St. Augustine.

Photos: St. Augustine Catholic/Fran Ruchalski 

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