By Elias O. Baquero
Saturday, September 8, 2012
THOUSANDS of devotees celebrated the birthday of the Virgin Mary yesterday at the Monastery of Holy Eucharist in Barangay Lindogon, Sibonga, Cebu, patiently waiting in line for about a kilometer to kiss the statue of Jesus Christ’s mother.
In his homily, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma Jr. said the increasing number of pilgrims from different parts of the country means their faith in God is strong.
And to make their pilgrimage meaningful, the devotees must follow the will of God, he said.
Among those who attended were Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) and Sibonga Mayor Lionel Bacaltos, who were both sponsors of the Virgin Mary’s birthday celebration.
Gov. Gwen Garcia, who was also one of the sponsors, failed to attend reportedly because Vice President Jejomar Binay was in Cebu for a visit.
Palma said there are two mother figures in the Bible. One is Eve, the wife of Adam, and the other is the Virgin Mary.
He said Eve and Adam succumbed to the temptation of Satan to eat the forbidden fruit. Mary, on the other hand, is the Mother of Grace, so when Jesus was dying on the cross, he said, “Behold your Mother, behold your Son.”
Mothers are very important to their children and family, Palma said.
“God chose a woman to be the mother of His Son. No one among us have the choice to choose our mothers. You can choose your wife but not your mother,” Palma said.
The archbishop advised devotees to put God first and pray for the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the success of whatever plans they have for their children and family.
Palma said when the Virgin Mary appeared before three teenagers in Portugal last century, one of them asked her, “Why are you so beautiful?” She replied, “Because I love.”
Palma recalled the statement of presidential sister Kris Aquino who said that she feels most beautiful when she is taking care of her baby.
“That means, as a mother, Kris Aquino feels good in taking care of her child,” Palma said.
During the pontifical mass, Palma was aided by Bishop Antonio Rañola, several priests and Frater Martin Mingala, chief monk and an influential religious leader in the place.
The monastery is located at Marian Hills, Barangay Lindogon, Sibonga (not Simala as mentioned in previous news items).
Several aparador-sized boxes marked “petitions, offerings and pledges” were placed in strategic areas where devotees dropped their written petitions and their cash offerings of any amount.
The Sisters Servant of Mater Evangepherum, Sisters of Oblates and the Sisters of Marian Monk Eucharistic Adoration served as ushers yesterday.
Several glass cabinets display granted petitions. Devotees who recovered from cancer offered their wheelchairs and crutches, while those who passed board examinations offered pencils, ballpens, T-shirts and calculators they used during the examinations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 09, 2012.