Mexico City: the Church of the Fifth Apparition to Juan Diego
About the Fifth Apparition:
It is a part of the whole story of the apparitions of Our Lady to Juan Diego. To appreciate this church, you must first understand the days preceding this. On December 11th, Our Lady had again appeared to Juan Diego and told him that he would be given a sign to take to the Bishop on the following day, since the Bishop had requested some proof of his claims. When Juan Diego returned home in Tulpetlac he found that his uncle, Juan Bernardino, his only living relative, was deathly ill with fever. No attempt to break the fever had worked. That night Juan Diego did not want to leave his uncle’s bedside. The following day, December 12th, his uncle asked him to go to get a priest so that he might receive the anointing of the sick and the Eucharist.
Fearing he might run in to Our Lady and be delayed, Juan Diego decided to take a different route from the ones previously taken. However as he was skirting the hilltop she appeared to him and asked him what troubled him. Juan Diego explained that his uncle was dying and that he must take care of him. She advised him that he should not worry and that his uncle would not die, and in fact assured him that he was already cured. And so it was on this day that Juan Diego continued on his journey to Tepeyac to pick the roses as a sign for the Bishop.
And of course the Tilma of Juan Diego was a even much more powerful sign than the roses. Upon returning home to his uncle the following day, Juan Bernardino confirmed that Our Lady had appeared to him and spoke to him the previous day. She repeated her request to have a church built on Tepeyac Hill and that she should be called “Our Lady of Guadalupe”.
About the Church of the Fifth Apparition:
Although a very simple building, this is one of the holiest churches in Mexico City. The Church was later constructed over the ruins of the home of Juan Bernardino. It is commonly known as the Church of the Fifth Apparition but is actually Santa Maria Tulpetlac.
There is a plaque in the sacristy which states that Pope Pius XII had granted a plenary indulgence to those who visit this church and who meet the normal requirements necessary for a plenary indulgence.
The Sacristan, Angel, tells the amazing story of a visiting priest from the United States who, while in prayer before the picture of the healing of Juan Diego’s uncle Juan Bernardino, suddenly saw the image of Pope John Paul II where the hand of the Blessed Mother had been. It is our understanding that this image had not been seen before that day.
There is also a healing well located under the altar in the church, perhaps not known by many who visit here. Be sure to get some water from the well if you can. You actually get the water from a faucet in front and to the right of the altar.
The Church of the Fifth Apparition was designated as the World Center of Healing by Pope John Paul II.
Most group tours to Our Lady of Guadalupe include a stop here for Mass. If you are traveling independently we encourage you to pay a visit here.
The Church is normally open during the day and you may even be able to catch a Mass being offered by a visiting group. We do not have a Mass schedule at this time and we are not aware of any website for the church itself.
Finding the Church of the Fifth Apparition:
As noted above, most people simply call it the Church of the Fifth Apparition, but the real name of the church is Santa Maria Tulpetlac, and so many cab drivers may know it by that name instead–or by the street address.
Address: Av. Mexico S/n, Tulpetlac, 55400 Ecatepec de Morelos, Méx.
GPS coordinates: 19° 34′ 6.1968” N, 99° 2′ 57.9660” W
Tel: +52 55 5126 0787
There is no official website for the church.