On the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on February 8 as instituted by St. John Eudes, the 12 Eudist seminarians in the Philippines together with Fr. Ron Bagley, CJM embarked on a Marian pilgrimage of visiting eight popular Marian Shrines in Metro Manila.
First to be visited was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela City, home of the national pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, which was hoisted up against the tanks during the first EDSA People Power Revolution. At this shrine, the seminarians invoked Our Blessed Mother, for peace in the Philippines and in the whole world.
The second stop was the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila in Quezon City. Administered by the Dominican friars, this church enshrines the image of Our Lady of Most Holy Rosary whose intercession Filipinos credit for miraculously repulsing the Protestant Dutch invasion during the Battles of La Naval de Manila in 1646. Here, the pilgrims prayed for guidance in their vocation to the priesthood.
Third, was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Retiro, Quezon City which is under the care of the Capuchin Franciscans who brought this devotion to our Blessed Lady in the Philippines. In this church, the group implored Mary’s intercession to bring healing and comfort to all the sick. Fourth, was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New Manila, Quezon City, which was recently elevated (December 2015) to a national shrine. The shrine is run by the Discalced Carmelite Fathers although the devotion to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was first introduced to Filipinos in the 1600s by the Augustinian Recollect Fathers. After invoking the help of the Blessed Mother for the poor souls in Purgatory, the group had a hearty home-cooked lunch along the grounds of the shrine.
Fifth, was the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Sampaloc, Manila. On the same site, the original church was built in the early 1600s with the image of Our Lady enshrined in May 1613 which is now on the altar of the present church. Here, the Blessed Mother’s intercession was entreated for the protection of our families.
The sixth stop was the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies in Malate, Manila. Also known as the Malate Church, the present church, the third one to be built, in 1864, houses an image of Our Lady brought from Spain in 1624. Malate Church has a rich and colorful history dating back 1588 when the first church was constructed by the Augustinians and the present church was turned over to the Columbans only in 1929. Here, the group beseeched Our Lady to help those in need.
The seventh, and the penultimate church to be visited was the National Shrine of Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque City, albeit the most popular Marian Shrine in the country where thousands of devotees flock, especially on Wednesdays, to pray the Novena to our Mother of Perpetual Help and ask her intercession for various needs. The Redemptorist Fathers were responsible for bringing the icon to the country in 1906, and is now enshrined in the main altar of the church. Since the shrine opened in December 1958, it has never been closed, day or night. Here, our pilgrims remembered and prayed for the intentions of all the Eudist communities throughout the world.
Lastly, the group proceeded to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life in Pasay City where the group ended their pilgrimage with St. John Eudes’ prayer Jesus Living in Mary.
The day’s activity culminated by watching the sunset on Manila Bay and a sumptuous dinner at Mall of Asia where the group was treated with dragon and lion dances as, incidentally, it was also the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.