KAPAMPANGAN devotees from all over the United States will gather at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels this September for their version of the 63rd Canonical Coronation Anniversary celebration of Virgen delos Remedios.
Vidal Aguas, a Kapampangan expatriate in the United States, told Sun.Star Pampanga that Filipino priests in Southern California are expected to concelebrate in Eucharistic celebration.
Kapampangans in California have started the tradition of honoring the Blessed Virgin a couple of years ago in a similar yearly remembrance of the canonical crowning in Pampanga each year.
The pastor, Reverend Rodel Balagtas, a Kapampangan, brought the September tradition of re-enacting the canonical coronation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Devotion to the Virgen delos Remedios began in France and was 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 delos Remedios.
The most popular devotion is Pampanga’s Crusade of Charity and Penance, which was entrusted under the patronage of Virgen delos Remedios and initiated by Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero, who incidentally is from Malate.
With the devastation caused by 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 delos 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 the Kapampangan’s enthusiastic and deep devotion to Mary, Pope Pius XII bestowed the Canonical Crown on September 8, 1956.
Every September, the coronation rite is reenacted and attended by the faithful of Pampanga, which is highlighted with a solemn concelebrated Mass. For five years now, a similar event has been held in Los Angeles.
As in the past year, Latinos are also expected to attend.