This icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs in Toronto’s Nativitiy of Our Lord Church. Photo courtesy of Deacon Gerard Almeida

Finding comfort in Our Lady of Guadalupe

By 
  • April 11, 2014

Toronto - The same year Deacon Gerard Almeida returned to his ministry at Toronto’s Nativity of Our Lord parish, he set eyes on the Marian icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This April, he will realize his dream of installing a sister replica of the icon as a permanent fixture of his home church.

When Almeida returned from an illness to his deacon ministry in 2012, the Knights of Columbus was running a Marian Prayer Program with an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe that visited various Knights councils. The icon arrived at Nativity of Our Lord on Nov. 13, 2012, and stayed for a week. Almeida, a Fourth Degree Knight, was spiritual director for his council and prepared a service to welcome the icon.

“Shortly after the icon had left the parish... I went through a conversion process,” he said. “All my life I have been trying to get close to Our Lady, but I could never reach that level of comfort. But with Our Lady of Guadalupe, I felt so comfortable that I made it my ambition that we should have Our Lady of Guadalupe icon at Nativity of Our Lord parish. That’s really what started the whole process.”

On April 8, Nativity of Our Lord parish was to host an inaugural devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with a Mass to follow. The icon is a replica of the image that hangs behind bulletproof glass in a low-oxygen atmosphere in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. 

It is Almeida’s hope to engage his parish’s 20 ministries, which pray the rosary at different times, in an organized rosary and devotion to the Blessed Mother to take place Tuesday nights. 

“My aim, the Knights of Columbus’ aim, is to bring the community as one unit, so we are going to reach out and evangelize to all the groups,” he said. “On Tuesday, they join forces.”

Nativity of Our Lord is located at 480 Rathburn Rd.

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