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Tarlac’s Our Lady of Mercy formally receives pontifical coronation

Tarlac’s Our Lady of Mercy formally receives pontifical coronation

The pontifical coronation of the image of Nuestra Señora de la Merced at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City on Feb. 24, 2023. SAN SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL

By Kendrick Ivan Panganiban

February 27, 2023

Tarlac City

The image of Nuestra Señora de la Merced in the Diocese of Tarlac has formally received a pontifical coronation on Feb. 24.

Venerated in the city of Tarlac’s Our Lady of Mercy Shrine in Matatalaib village, the image was brought to San Sebastian Cathedral for the rite of canonical coronation.

It is the diocese’s second Marian image to be granted coronation by the Vatican, following Our Lady of Sorrows of Capas town that was pontifically crowned in 2021, and declared as Queen and Patroness of Tarlac province.

The Mass was led by Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown, with San Fernando Archbishop Florentino Lavarias, Tarlac Bishop Enrique Macaraeg, Tarlac Bishop Emeritus Florentino Cinense and members of the Tarlac clergy.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, San Fernando Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto, San Fernando de La Union Bishop Daniel Presto, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, San Jose de Nueva Ecija Bishop Roberto Mallari, Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto Jose, Alaminos Apostolic Administrator Fidelos Layog, and Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Nolly Buco were also in attendance.

In his homily, Archbishop Brown directed the faithful not only to the crowns to be worn by the Mother and Son but to the unique feature of the image, the broken shackles and chain.

“When they see those chains with those shackles open, we know that Our Lady is able to work miracles for us if we trust in her and if we trust in what she has in her other hand, her left hand, Jesus,” he said.

“What is said in the Gospel for today – ‘Do whatever he tells you’ – that is what Mary tells each of us who pray to her as she brings that chain and the Santo Niño with her is the sign that Jesus is there and works miracles and if we do whatever he tells us, all will be well,” he added.

The pontifical coronation took place more than two years after the image was granted an episcopal coronation by Bishop Macaraeg on Sept. 24, 2020.

When the shrine was granted a special bond of spiritual affinity with the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on Dec. 7, 2022, the local government also granted the image the title of “City Cultural Treasure” and the shrine as a “City Tourism Site”.


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