The appearance of the Virgin Mary on a hill in Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531 is perhaps the central tradition in Latino Catholicism. The vision, allegedly seen by recent convert Juan Diego, signalled the rise of Catholicism in the New World at a time when Protestantism was spreading throughout the old world. So what could a male, anglo protestant liturgist possibly have to say on the subject? In The Virgin of Guadalupe, Lutheran minister Maxwell Johnson recognizes that this tradition is not only important to Latin American Catholics, but to all Latin American Christians. Acknowledging the significance (if not, necessarily, the historical accuracy) of the appearance of the Virgin is not simply a Roman Catholic need by a necessity for all Christian churches among whom the Hispanic presence is growing. This is shown by the increased commemoration of Juan Diego on December 9, or of the Virgin of Guadalupe herself on December 12, on Protestant calendars. This increased recognition among Protestants coincides with the Pope's canonization of Saint Juan Diego in the summer of 2002. In step with this movement, Johnson considers the Virgin of Guadalupe from a Lutheran perspective and looks at ways in which she might be received into the evangelical or Protestant tradition.
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