Monday, December 11, 2006

More on Principal and Patroness

I did a bit of research today and read the Acts and Decrees of the First Plenary Council of the Philippines (Acta et Decreta Primi Concilii Plenarii Insularum Philippinarum). A copy is available at the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila, but 90% of it is in Latin.

Here, in Title VII, Chapter V, De cultu Beatae Mariae Virginis, we find that the Immaculate Conception is indeed the principal patroness of the Philippines, Philippinae gentis Patrona inclyta, principalis et universalis, venerated as such from as early as the First Synod of Manila in 1907, and confirmed as I had mentioned yesterday by Pope Pius XII who declared her: "primaria et universalis Patrona Insularum Philippinarum." It is also from this document that we get the liturgical mandate to renew the "Consecration of the Philippines to the Immaculate Mother of God" every Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The prescribed formula for the consecration is given in Appendix III of the said document with versions in Spanish, English and Tagalog. (This is something I learned really just now as I have never seen it being observed anywhere in all my twenty years. Apparently it is an old formula, seeming to be in need of updating if not revision.)

The next paragraph now mentions the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which, as I have correctly intuited, traces itself to our affinity with the Church of Mexico (New Spain) where many of the missionaries who evangelized these Islands came from. It was mainly this that prompted the bishops to petition the Holy See to proclaim Our Lady of Guadalupe patroness of our Islands, granted by Pius XI on July 16, 1935. The document then exhorted the pastors and the clergy to promote devotion to Our Lady under this title among the faithful.

Now, there are many more problems facing this country at the moment, than just these liturgical complexities that are also important. More than anything else, let us pray to our Blessed Lady that she who is invoked and loved as the patroness of these Islands may always guide and protect our people, strengthen us in righteousness and faith, and sustain us in the struggle for justice and peace.

Words incribed above the main door of the Manila Cathedral: Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus. Amen. Amen.


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