Amid challenges, turn to Mary, Cardinal Tagle tells devotees 

Amid challenges, turn to Mary, Cardinal Tagle tells devotees 

The image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel arrives at the Philippine Coast Guard headquarters in Manila after a fluvial procession at the Manila Bay marking the 400 years of its arrival in the Philippines, May 4, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

May 5, 2018

MANILA

The 400th anniversary of the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Philippines tells Filipinos to look back to the Blessed Mother amid violence and other problems besetting the nation, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said.

In a “noisy world” that refuses to listen to the cries of people, especially the poor, he urged the faithful “to relive the spirit of Carmel in the heart and life of Mother Mary”.

“I hope that that the sound of guns and grief will stop and be replaced with silence caused by true peace. In a world that is being destroyed by a false god, may we be created by God who gives life,” Tagle said.

Manila’s heat and blazing sun did not wither the spirits of the thousands of people who attended Friday’s celebration to mark the arrival from Mexico of the first image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Philippines 400 years ago.

Onboard the Philippine Coast Guard’s patrol vessel BRP Capones, the celebration started with an early dawn fluvial parade of the image at the Manila Bay.

It was followed with a Mass presided over by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

About a dozen other prelates, including Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, and more than 40 priests attended the liturgical service.

Some top government officials and dignitaries were also seen, including Philippine ambassador to the Holy See, Grace Relucio-Princesa, and Mexican ambassador to the Philippines, Gerardo Lozano.

In his homily, Archbishop Valles advised the devotees gathered under the heat of the sun to be virtuous like Mary.

“She stood at the foot of the cross without words … keeping her faith even in the tragedy of the cross,” said the prelate.

“Mary always brings us to Jesus. With Mary our recognition, our trust, our confidence in the love and mercy of the Lord are always strengthened,” he added.

After the Mass, the image was transferred in a procession back to the San Sebastian Basilica in Manila’s Quiapo district where it has been enthroned since 1621.

The arrival in 1618 of the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel began a devotion that remains popular throughout the archipelago today, as witnessed by the number of Filipinos who continue to wear its distinctive brown scapular.