Catholics from the Archdiocese of Chicago joined hundreds of others to celebrate the blessing and dedication of a new Our Lady of Guadalupe Plaza, outdoor shrine and chapel at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Indiana, on May 22. Each year, thousands of Catholics from the Chicago area make pilgrimages to the shrine, which is home to the 33-foot-tall Our Lady of the New Millennium statue, which used to be in Chicago, and large, bronze outdoor Stations of the Cross with meditations narrated by journalist Bill Kurtis. There are also shrines to the sanctity of life and to Moses on Mount Sinai. Diocese of Gary Bishop Robert McClory led the dedication and blessing, which featured mariachi music, Aztec dancers and food trucks. Yolanda Deanda is no stranger to the shrine. She has been making regular visits for 10 years to pray the stations and to have some quiet prayer time. Deanda grew up in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on 91st Street in Chicago and brought her children to the dedication. “It’s just a serenity place,” she said. “It really does bring back that feeling of that spirituality you had as a child going through catechism.” Juan Campos is a member of a group of riders who regularly join the annual horseback pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines around the feast day of Dec. 12. He said he and his wife wanted to be at the dedication in Indiana to show their love to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Michael Yerkes heard about the event on Relevant Radio and brought his wife, Mary, to the event. It was the first time the couple, who attend St. Luke Parish in River Forest, visited the shrine. “We pray a lot for our children and a lot of our friends’ children, so we have a devotion to the Blessed Mother. This is another way of asking the Blessed Mother’s intercession for all their needs,” he said. The couple lit electric candles in the chapel and prayed at the outdoor shrine. “This is great. We really enjoyed it. We’re going to do the Stations of the Cross,” Mary Yerkes said after the dedication. “I work in pro-life [ministry], and I love the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s my favorite Marian image,” she added. Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego for the first time at dawn Dec. 9, 1531, at Tepeyac and said she wanted a church built in her honor on that hill. St. Juan Diego went to the bishop to share this news, but was put off by the prelate. She appeared again, and the saint — who was called by name by the apparition — again approached the bishop. The bishop asked for a sign, and Mary produced enough roses in December to fill the saint’s cloak, or “tilma.” When he emptied the roses in front of the bishop, he found that Our Lady had left her image on the tilma, which remains today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit the basilica each year. St. John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas in 1999.