The Blood and The Rose’ comes to town 

By CARRIE VARGAS, Editorial Assistant

Imagine walking down the street to church, when a woman crosses your path and tells you that she is
the Virgin Mary, a divine apparition of the holy mother Jesus Christ. Most people in today’s society
would find that to be an outrageous thought, but a recent film explores the experience of Juan Diego, a
man of humble means that serves God in a big way, and the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe who
is considered the patroness of the Americas in the Catholic Church.
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church and its pro-life ministry have brought the documentary of this
story in the film, “The Blood and The Rose.”
Produced by Renegade Productions, and Leo McWatkins Films, there will be two exclusive
screenings of the award-winning documentary on Sunday, March 16 at UltraStar Multitainment
Center. The first will be a special screening in Spanish at 4 p.m. followed by the English version at 7
“The Blood and The Rose,” directed by Timothy Watkins (In the Face of Evil), executive produced by
Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ) and narrated by actor Eduardo Verastegui (Bella and For
Greater Glory), examines the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe beginning with the history behind the
miracle all the way through how the appearance transformed the Americas and help to further
The film, which was shot on location in Mexico and Spain, includes interviews with experts in
science, history and theology.
Our Lady of Grace Parish Pastor, Father Marcos Velasquez said, “For those who go, it is a
documentary with dramatic reenactment.”
He further explained that there is a lot of scientific scrutiny and facts on which the film is based. He
said those who are not familiar with the story would learn a lot, and for those that are familiar with it,
will learn even more than they already knew.
Velasquez and Watkins believe the story will inspire the faithful to spread the gospel in order to help
make a difference in the world.
“When the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to the Aztec, the people were dejected, but her appearance
brings hope. Her image brings hope,” Velasquez said.
Watkins added that Juan Diego was a simple, humble man who helped to cause a miracle of epic
natures. Juan Diego’s name in Nahuatl was Cuauhtlatoatzin, which means ‘messenger eagle,’ someonehe was born to be. Watkins explained that we are all meant to be messenger eagles.
“We hope this film will serve as an awakening for its viewers to recapture that baptismal spirit and let
the messenger eagle within them out. We must know and spread the word of God,” Watkins said.
The passion for this movie comes from a personal experience that Watkins had in his life. His son,
Brian, was diagnosed with autism, and in 2002, Watkins found himself losing hope. He remembered
that an experience in his past, where a family member was injured and his family went to Mass daily to
pray for healing. He decided to take on the challenge in relation to his son.
“It was during that experience that a few things happened and turned my life around,” he said.
His son participated in his annual Special Olympics event when he saw something that changed is life
“On that day I observed the most beautiful thing. These kids are full of joy, I thought to myself, they
will never judge, they will only love,” he said.
It occurred to Watkins that there was irony in calling them “disabled” when he realized that everyone
is disabled, handicapped and broken. Three years after this epiphany, he was contacted to film “The
Blood and The Rose.” It drove his passion for telling the story of what he calls “the global miracle
known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
The film, which has been screened over 30 times in the U.S., with 225 more to come in 2014, came to
Maricopa thanks to a parishioner from Our Lady of Grace.
Watkins added that there was a nearby screening in December in Gilbert at St. Anne’s Parish where a
parishioner from the local parish asked about bringing the film after seeing the excitement that it
“Because there are so many Spanish speakers in Maricopa, it made sense to show the film in both
English and Spanish,” Watkins said of bringing both screenings to town.
The screening benefits the pro-life ministry for Our Lady of Grace, who has joined the movement “40
Days of Life,” which began March 5 and will end April 13. While Velasquez admits that the timing of
the movie’s screening to the movement is coincidental, he believes that it is still connected.
He states that the film highlights “the blessed mother to show how children are sacred.”
Watkins explained that the most important aspect of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe isn’t just
her; it’s what she shows us.
“She shows us, with her head bowed, hands in prayer and with bent knee that there is someone more
important than her in the image, that being the Christ child in her womb, further signaling the
importance of all life from the womb to the tomb,” Watkins said.

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