Laoag bishop leads pilgrimage to Our Lady of Badoc’s origin in Japan

Laoag bishop leads pilgrimage to Our Lady of Badoc’s origin in Japan

By Buena Luz

February 11, 2020

Laoag City

Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag has led a pilgrimage to Nagasaki in Japan, the origin of Ilocos region’s revered image of Our Lady of Badoc.

The Feb. 1 to 5 pilgrimage centered on the Nagasaki archdiocese, the place of numerous persecuted Christians during the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The religious pilgrimage was organized to mark the first anniversary of the declaration as a minor basilica of the church housing the 400-year-old statue. It was also to set a kick-off the fourth centenary of the arrival of the “miraculous” image in the shores of Ilocos.

Hundreds of Christians were martyred and through some outlawed devotees, the image of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” together with the black Crucified Christ of Sinait were set afloat on the sea to avoid iconoclasm.

The crate carrying the sacred images were caught by fishermen in 1620 at Dadalaquiten, the boundary between the towns of Badoc and Sinait.

On Feb. 2, Bishop Mayugba brought the group to significant places of the image’s origin. They also left a replica of “Apo Badoc” in Nagasaki’s Urakami Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

In mid-19th century, a French Missionary discovered that most of the villagers there were secretly practicing their Catholic faith. Less than a century later, this was the same site of the Atomic Bomb explosion, killing numerous Japanese Catholics in 1945.

Afternoon of the same day, the bishop and the group participated in the open Mass at Nishizaka Park presided over by Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki for the Memorial of the 26 Japanese Martyrs.

A replica of Apo Badoc was placed and honored at the stage. The Nishizaka Park serves as a sanctuary attributed to the 26 Japanese Martyrs executed in 1597, marking the start of the mass persecution of Christians.

Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis also visited the place as pilgrims in 1981 and 2019 respectively.

The pilgrims on Feb. 3 proceeded to the Co-Cathedral at Oura, also in Nagasaki Region. The church, a minor basilica, serves as a monument to the 26 Martyrs of Japan and was declared by the Japanese government as a National Cultural Treasure. An image of Apo Badoc was also left in display at its Christian Museum.

On the penultimate day, they visited and celebrated Mass at Tabira Church, honoring St. Pedro Bautista, a Franciscan missionary who served in the Philippines and was martyred in Japan, and St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary whose evangelization of Japan is attributed.

The last major stop was at Hirado where Bishop Mayugba celebrated the Mass in its church as an expression of gratitude to Divine Providence for the gift of Apo Badoc and the witnessing of the hidden Japanese Christians.

The bishop was joined in by 11 priests, among them is Fr. Freddie Astudillo, Rector of the Minor Basilica in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, and some lay devotees.