Philippines people in love with Mary

A long-venerated icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help turned 150 this year, and many Filipinos’ Marian devotion has never been stronger.

“There is one clear reason for the thousands of devotees who flock to Baclaran: the special Marian piety of the Filipino people,” Fr. Joseph Echano, CSsR, rector of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, told CNA.

“What Baclaran is today is because of the Filipinos’ deep devotion to Mary” he added. “Indeed, if Filipinos are sent on mission throughout the world, our special gift in mission will be our love of our blessed Mother Mary… the devotion to Mother Mary is deeply embedded in Filipino culture.”

There is a phrase in Spanish about the Filipinos. They are “pueblo amante de Maria,” people in love with Mary.

For Fr. Echano, Baclaran is “the quintessential expression of this.”

The shrine’s rector estimates as many as 100,000 devotees flock to the shrine every Wednesday and there are 80,000 visitors a day every Sunday.

The centuries-old miraculous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is enshrined in the National Shrine of Baclaran in Parañaque, part of Metro Manila.

Behind the icon is a special purpose.

“The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is not to show a beautiful scene or person but to convey a beautiful spiritual message – the perpetual help and love of God through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help,” Fr. Echano said.

In the year 1866, Blessed Pius IX entrusted the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorist congregation, giving them the mission to make her known throughout the world.

Redemptorist missionaries arrived in the Philippines in 1906, bringing a copy of the icon. They gathered a small group of 70 people for the first novena at a humble wooden church in a fishing village. Continue reading

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