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Jaro fiesta: ‘Turn to Mary to face challenge of New Evangelization’

Jaro fiesta: ‘Turn to Mary to face challenge of New Evangelization’

Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo blesses candles at the beginning of the Mass in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, Patroness of Jaro and the Western Visayas, on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Feb. 2, 2018. VINCENT VALENCIA

JARO, Iloilo City – As thousands of devotees of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria gathered in this city to honor the patroness of the district of Jaro and of Western Visayas, a priest invited Christians to turn to Mary, “the Gift and First Tabernacle”, to face whatever the New Evangelization demands.

“Mary’s apparitions in the different times and context of our history – in distinctive garbs and various local cultures – are distinct, concrete signs that she adapts her life to be in cadence with the changing times, to continue to connect to the hearts of these people and from that inner sanctuary – to search for her Son,” said Msgr. Jose Marie Delgado, parish priest and rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles in his message to the faithful on the occasion of the Jaro fiesta, a grand event held in this city every Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The priest also highlighted the centrality of Jesus Christ “dwelling in our midst in the face of the world’s rejection of God and His values hidden in the ‘new normal’ of a fast-changing world.”

Illustrating the millenary history of Mary’s search for her scattered children, he said, “Presently, distractions of all forms, real and virtual, may dim the focus of one’s heart in the search for life’s meaning. But Mary is good with this homework. Her radar to ‘search and restore’ has been proven in Cova da Iria, Portugal, in the cave in Lourdes, France and in the Hill of Tepeyac, Mexico among others.”

Passing on the faith

In this context, the rector of the Marian shrine specified the importance of transmitting the faith to the “growing popular face of the Church: the ‘millennials’ who are, living in the digital continent surrounded by the forces of secular humanism.”

“With their incessant quest to explore, especially through the cyber world what is there in their precarious life to be so valued about, they too, must find this First Tabernacle, the heart and the womb of Mama Mary,” he stressed.
According to the priest, Ilonggos in general, and Jareños in particular, see the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria as a gift that must be treasured and passed on “with excitement and depth to the coming generations.”

Wanted: Collaborators of Mary

In line with the CBCP’s celebration of 2018 as the Year of Clergy and Consecrated Persons as Renewed Servant Leaders for the New Evangelization, Delgado mentioned Mary’s need to employ collaborators to the task.

“But she will not do this alone. She will employ these ‘barkadas’ of hers, the clergy and religious, with their lay partners to continue to explore fields of missions beyond the confines of their convents and the usual vineyard they have so cared for, not to leave them behind but expand their reach for mission,” he said. CBCPNews