Friday, August 15, 2014


While we say "Guadalupe" - because that's what the Spanish-speaking bishop thought he heard the Aztec, St. Juan Diego, say - St. Juan Diego did not speak Spanish, and probably said the phonetically similar Aztec word Te Coatlaxopeuh, which is the name Our Lady most likely gave him when he asked her for it. To learn more about Te Coatlaxopeuh and her amazing possible connection to Guam, go here.

Meanwhile, this post is an All Points Bulletin to help us track down the missing statue of Te Coatlaxopeuh from the church which is named for her, the church in the village of Santa Rita.

We are not unfamiliar with accounts of the statue of Our Lady of Kamalin going missing from time to time, and in fact its disappearances and reappearances have become part of its legend. But apparently we have a new legend happening in Santa Rita, and, according to some parishioners, it goes like this:

Shortly after the freshly neo-ordained Fr. Fabio took over the Santa Rita parish, "someone" apparently "broke into" the church one night, took all the statues down from their places, and placed them all in a row in the center aisle as if they were all marching out the door. 

Fr. Fabio then "discovers" the dastardly deed and calls parishioners who come running to stop the saints from their apparently self-imposed iconoclastic protest. The parishioners arrive in time and the saints are stopped dead in their tracks. Phew!

However, it is discovered that some of the statues are damaged, including the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And, wouldn't you know it, "she" has to be sent off for repairs.

Months go by. As you might expect, parishioners begin to ask about her. After all, she is the patron of their church and her statue had been with them almost since the end of WWII. Various explanations are given about her whereabouts. So the good parishioners wait...and wait.

After many months, Fr. Fabio receives marching orders to go evangelize the heathen elsewhere and he is replaced by another fresh face from the neo-seminary, Fr. K. So the parishioners try their luck with Fr. K. Fr. K. is a nice guy (at least in comparison to his predecessor) and is not as good at making up stories, so he tells the parishioners the truth: the statue is in storage! 

"Wonderful", say the parishioners, "can we please have our statue back?" "Ummmm....", says Fr. K., "I have to ask the archbishop." "Okay", say the good parishioners of Santa Rita. More time goes by. No statue.

Finally they ask again. "Ummmm....." says Fr. K. The archbishop says that the statue can be moved to the rectory and you can visit it there. "Uhhhhh..." say the parishioners, "how come?" "Ummmm.....says Fr. K, "Archbishop says." "Uhhhhh...." say the parishioners, "okay, when?" "Ummmm.....", says Fr. K, "I have to ask the archbishop." "Ummmm......", say the parishioners, "okay."

And as per the last report, still no statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, not even in the rectory.

Note to parishioners of Santa Rita. They are getting rid of your statues and have lain plains to tear down your church. But don't worry, in the words of their arch-neocat: "It is about a trend in the church history to rebuild the church from bottom up, through small communities. You fight this trend. But how can you fight a trend in church history? It is hopeless."

So far they have been proved right: "It is hopeless".  It's up to you if they will be proved wrong.

Recommendations by JungleWatch