During a Mass to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Mexico City, and Cardinal Cupich signed an agreement renewing a commitment of cooperation in the areas of charity and evangelization between the Chicago shrine and the shrine at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It also renewed the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s permission for people who cannot travel to the basilica in Mexico City to fulfill their “mandas,” or “promises,” to the Virgin of Guadalupe at the Des Plaines shrine. When people pray to the Virgin, traditionally they promise to visit the shrine when she grants their request. The shrine in Des Plaines is the only place outside of the basilica in Mexico where people can fulfill their mandas. With the permission of the Mexico City archdiocese, pilgrims can also receive the indulgences associated with this devotion. “These commitments that are accepted today freely and with great joy have as their end the promotion and love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and Our Mother, in her advocation of Guadalupe,” the agreement reads. “Also, it is an ardent hope that this cooperation will strengthen the fraternal unity that has always united our peoples and redound in all that brings for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.” Eighty children receiving their First Communion filled the front pews and several hundred people packed the plaza for the Mass. At the end of the liturgy, Cardinal Aguiar Retes presented to the shrine a large replica of the image in Mexico City. It was created on the same fabric that St. Juan Diego’s tilma is made of. While over 2 million people of all ethnicities visit and attend Mass at the Des Plaines shrine throughout the year, more than 100,000 people from across the Midwest come on Dec. 11 and 12 every year to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shrine officials say. The feast day commemorates Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near modern-day Mexico City. Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego for the first time at dawn Dec. 9, 1531, 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. On Dec. 11-12, Masses are held both in the main church and in the plaza at the Des Plaines shrine throughout the 24-hour period. The shrine hosts what is believed to be the largest celebration of the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside Mexico City. Celebrations begin the week before, when more than 1,000 riders on horseback and hundreds of truck drivers make pilgrimages to the shrine. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was officially founded on Jan. 1, 2013, by Cardinal Francis George. However, people have celebrated their devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe on the grounds of Maryville Academy since 1986. Steps to formalize a place specifically dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe began in May 1999 when Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, and Cardinal George formalized an agreement between their archdioceses. On Sept. 4, 2001, Cardinal Rivera Carrera sent the first replica of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe with Msgr. Luis Guerrero-Rosado, rector of the Basilica of Mexico City at that time, who came to Chicago to present the image and designated the sanctuary as a site where people could fulfill their mandas and receive the indulgences associated with this devotion. The outdoor shrine is open 24 hours a day. There is also a gift shop, a pastoral center where religious education classes and other programs are held, a rectory and offices, a small indoor chapel and a large indoor church. Just a few weeks prior to the anniversary Mass, on May 23, someone set fire to the outdoor Chapel of the Resurrected Christ. The chapel contained a statue of Jesus resurrected in a small cave setting. Many people leave candles, pictures of loved ones, flowers, baby shoes and other items of personal significance. Since the shrine is open all night, people are almost always there praying, no matter the hour. A person praying from their car called the Des Plaines Police Department at 2:31 a.m. on May 23 reporting that someone acting erratically had just set fire to the chapel. “It was pilgrims themselves who were caring for the shrine,” said Father Esequiel Sanchez, rector of the shrine, of the 911 call. On Dec. 4, 2022, the shrine dedicated a new entrance to greet visitors, which was designed in a colonial style with archways for pilgrims to walk through Shrine leaders hope to build a refectory or restaurant in the future both to feed pilgrims and provide revenue. On Dec. 12, 2031, the basilica, the shrine and the worldwide church will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Guadalupe apparitions.