LET US GO TO MARY
ARCHBISHOP RAMON C. ARGUELLES, D.D.
Archbishop of Lipa
For The Lipa Pilgrimage 2006
CBCP Media Office
September 7, 2006
‘Let us go to Mary,’ is the very powerful call of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo to all who love our country. It is a very timely appeal. For the nth time the CBCP pushes for our rallying before the Holy Mother to plead for peace and harmony in our beloved homeland The Filipino bishops lead all to trust in the prayer to Mary which says: “We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God…” 2006 is the “Year of Social Concern dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well as to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”. The Church leadership, through Archbishop Lagdameo, and the civil authorities, through President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, declared September 12, A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, REPARATION AND CONSECRATION for peace in the Philippines . And our prayer includes all the world. Indeed a well-timed call in the midst of prevailing, often times distressing, national and world conditions. True peace alone, which Christians believe is God’s gift to the world, can guarantee harmony and true progress. This is a major social concern. “History shows our human concerns are also our Blessed Mother’s concern,” Archbishop Lagdameo fittingly affirms. For the third straight year, the 12 th of September has become a key moment for the ever growing number of pilgrims to troop to Lipa and join the intense prayer because “We have always turned to Mary in times of difficulties, tragedies, crises, and of seeming hopelessness.”
The Significance of September 12
But why September 12? Some people cannot help asking. What is so special about September 12? The birth of the Lord, commemorated on December 25, concludes with the homage given the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Even if this feast has already disappeared in the reformed Catholic calendar, our country was granted the special privilege of celebrating the Solemnity of the Santo Niño. The liturgy of the day is really that in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. In the same way, the erstwhile ecclesiastical calendar, after the celebration of the birth of the Mother of God on September 8, rendered homage, four days after, to the Most Holy Name of Mary. In Lipa the celebration of September 12 in honor of Mother Mary has never waned even if the motive of giving honor to the Most Holy Name of Mary has taken a minor significance. Every year on September 12 Mary is singularly honored in Lipa because, according to many, the Blessed Mother honored Lipa in a very distinct way. Her first apparition in the Carmel of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace is believed to have occurred on such date in 1948.
Lipa, a Deeply Marian Site
The Carmel of Lipa became a favorite pilgrimage destination in the late forties and early fifties. The crowd dwindled for a while until it increased again in the early nineties. Besides the alleged Marian apparitions in the beginning, miracles are believed to have taken place in the now considered Holy Site. Miracles do still take place. Regardless of the veracity of the so-called Marian apparitions almost six decades ago, many believe in the strong and grace-filled presence of the Virgin Mother in Lipa. The vast throng yearly congregating in Lipa Carmel experience this maternal care. Every pilgrim is aware of this distinct experience, if one believes and puts complete trust in Jesus’ infinite mercy and Mary’s unfailing love. Without denying past events, most people concentrate less on what happened in past decades and pay more grateful attention to what God and the Holy Mother will still do now and the days ahead. It is for this that faithful from all parts of the country and of the world are welcome in Lipa to pray with profound faith for peace, harmony and genuine progress in the Philippines and everywhere, for an ever stronger sanctifying presence and ministry of the Church through holy bishops, priests, religious and dedicated lay leaders.
The Grace of Lipa is for the Nation and for the entire World
The faithful of the Archdiocese of Lipa, the priests, religious, the Carmelite nuns, all laymen and laywomen, are thrilled by the assumed unusual visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, to Lipa. Lipa cherishes being increasingly acclaimed as the locus of Mary’s awesome presence and miraculous activities. These signs of Mary’s affection are not however meant only for Batangueños. All these blessings are intended for the greater community, for the whole nation and even for the entire world. How wonderful it is that the Lord and His Holy Mother have singled out Lipa City and the Archdiocese of Lipa to be the wellspring of God’s manifold bounty for countless others. There is no limit to God’s goodness. God’s blessings must lavishly be shared with others. Lipa, chosen as the venue of God’s and Mary’s liberality, is immensely blessed and will still be more blessed when God’s gifts will be allowed to spill over from Lipa to others. Lipa, the city and the archdiocese, heartily welcomes pilgrims from everywhere to draw from the limitless source of heavenly treasures the province of Batangas has been blessed with. With the CBCP president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo Lipa eagerly says, ‘ LET US GO TO MARY‘ . Yes, come to Lipa, to encounter Mary and to pray for peace in the whole Philippines and in the entire world. Be there any day but especially on September 12, the Day of Prayer, Reparation and Consecration for Peace in our Country and for the Sanctification of Priests! Our September 12 day of prayer starts with intensity on September 11. What a coincidence! With God’s help and Mary’s intercession, may the world no longer see another violent 9/11! The Philippines seems to avoid the like of 9/11, or other destructive experiences: tsunamis, or killer earthquakes. But till when? Some do ask. With deep prayer and faith in God’s mercy and Mary’s maternal faithfulness, may such tragedies be far and instead let heavenly protection and favors overflow the earth. Go to Lipa With Mary, go to God!”