Thousands attend 400th year of Lady of Mt. Carmel arrival in PH

MANILA Thousands of Marian devotees joined Friday's commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the coming of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel image in the Philippines from Mexico.

Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles presided a mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila to celebrate the occasion. The prelate reminded the faithful how the Blessed Mother always strengthens and inspires the people.

Let us continue to offer this Mass thanking the Lord for giving us the most wonderful gift, a Blessed Mother who always strengthens, comforts us, encourages us, and inspires us, as we continue in this journey. The journey of faith, journey towards the kingdom of the Father, he said in his homily before 4,000 attendees.

Before the mass, a fluvial parade was held at the Manila Bay that re-enacted the icon's departure from Mexico and arrival in Manila on May 4, 1618, in a ceremony called "Salubong" or welcoming.

Other Catholic prelates who attended the event were Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Capiz Archbishop Jose Advincula, Alaminos Bishop Jesus Cabrera, Abra Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto Jose, Gumaca Bishop Victor Ocampo, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nueva Ecija Bishop Roberto Mallari, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, retired Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, and Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani.

After the Mass, the image was transported from the grandstand to its Recollect Shrine of San Sebastian Basilica and passed by Quiapo Church, where the Black Nazarene appeared for the reversed Dungaw.

The "Traslacion", or procession, lasted for over three hours.

Augustinian Recollect Provincial Superior Rev. Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR, led the Rites of Re-enthronement during the 6:30 p.m. Mass.

Last year, the Sacred Penitentiary of the Catholic Church in the Vatican issued an official decree granting a plenary indulgence to all who would participate in the year-long celebration (July 2017 � July 2018), following the usual conditions of going to confession, receiving communion, and praying for the intentions of the Pope.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D., has also issued a circular letter reminding the faithful of the plenary indulgence they would gain by attending the activities related to the commemoration of the image's arrival in the country four centuries ago.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines plenary indulgence as a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.

Introduced to the country by the Augustinian Recollect missionaries, devotion to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has become one of the most popular Marian devotions in the Philippines.

This has led to many Catholics' devotion to the Brown Scapular and to the rise of churches and schools under her patronage.

First housed at the Recollect Convent in San Juan de Bagumbayan, where the Planetarium now stands, the original icon was enthroned on May 5, 1621 at the Church of San Sebastian, which was later elevated to the status of a basilica in 1890.

A hundred years after, St. John Paul II canonically crowned the icon in 1991 in recognition of the Filipinos' age-old devotion.

The original icon was given as a gift by Discalced Carmelite nuns of Mexico to Augustinian Recollects missionaries. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency