CITY OF SAN FERNANDO- - Devotees from all over Pampanga will gather at the Provincial Capitol of Pampanga on September 8 for the 62nd Canonical Coronation Anniversary celebration of Virgen delos Remedios, the province’s patroness.
According to the schedule released by the Archdiocese of San Fernando, there will be a Taize prayer service by the different Parish Youth Ministry members of the province on the eve of September 7 at 10:00 in the evening. This will be followed by an Ad Orientem Mass at 11:00 pm.
A vigil will also be hosted by the seminarians of the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary at 2:00 a.m. before the opening rites at 3:00 am.
Procession rites will start from Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando going to the Pampanga Capitol grounds where the first canonical coronation was held some 62 years ago. The highlight of the celebration will be the Holy Mass followed by the re-enactment of the coronation rites.
The images of the Santo Cristo del Perdon and the Virgen delos Remedios will be brought back to the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando for the three Holy Masses at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. for those who will not be able to attend the coronation rites and to provide an opportunity for people to visit the images.
After the last Mass, the images will be brought back to the chapel of the Arzobispado.
Devotion to Virgen Delos Remedios began in France and popularized by St. John Matha, who prayed to the Blessed Mother in his efforts to free slaves. Then it became popular in Spain, where she became the patroness of different crusades against Muslims. With time, her title changed by the places where she is enshrined, as the Nuestra Señora de Caridad in Cuba.
Through the galleon trades, the devotion was brought to Manila, where the oldest Marian image of the Nuestra Señora delos Remedios is enshrined at Malate Church. At present, there are 17 churches listed in the Philippines dedicated to Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. The most popular devotion is Pampanga’s Crusade of Charity and Penance, which was entrusted under the patronage of Virgen de los Remedios and initiated by Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero, who incidentally is from Malate.
With the devastation of World War II, Pampanga became a center for communism and breeding ground of socialism. There was a huge gap between rich and poor, thus peasants and farmers were up in arms against their landowners.
Thus in 1952, Bishop Guerrero set the image of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios to visit every church and chapel around the diocese that brought together the faithful in prayer with non-stop recitation of the rosary. There were daily Masses and the faithful were encouraged to return to the sacraments. Likewise, care for the poor was emphasized where aid was solicited by the host parish and brought to the needy of the next parish. In between prayers and devotions, folks were working and sharing together for peace.
As recognition of Kapampangan’s enthusiastic and deep devotion to Mary, Pope Pius XII bestowed the Canonical Crown on September 8, 1956.