A three-day Visayas Congress will be held in Cebu City from February 16 to 18, 2017, as part of the celebration of the 150th jubilee of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The icon was entrusted to the Redemptorist missionaries by Pope Pius IX in 1866 .
Delegates from Bacolod, Bohol, Borongan, Catbalogan, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Tacloban, Northern Samar and Western Samar are expected to arrive on Feb. 16. An optional city tour for non-Cebu delegates is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. The registration is scheduled at 4 p.m., which will be followed by a welcome mass at the Redemptorist Church and dinner for non-Cebu delegates.
On Feb. 17, registration will start at 8 a.m. for all the participants. The opening mass will be celebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu Oscar Florencio, and followed by a welcome ceremony.
Prof. Dale Mansueto of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology will speak on “How OMPH Icon Devotion and Novena Began in the Philippines and How it Spread Throughout the Country.” The talk will be followed by a testimony on “Mary in the Life of a Redemptorist Missionary” by Rev. Fr. Jovencio Ma, Redemptorist. An evening prayer and cultural presentation at SM Seaside will cap the day’s activities. In the morning of Feb. 18, Rev. Fr. Ramon Echica, dean of Studies of the San Carlos Seminary, will speak on “Looking Into the Novena Texts.” A testimony on the influence of Mary in the life of a teacher-seminarian will be delivered by Rey Julo Biliran, Formand and Sacred Heart School teacher. The historico-anothropological perspective of Marian devotion in the Philippines in general and OMPH devotion will be discussed by Bro. Karl Gaspar, dean of the St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute. In the afternoon, Rev. Fr. Ino Cueto, director of the St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute, will discuss the topic, “Debo(mi)syon.” It will be followed by “The Story of Mary in our Family,” a testimony to be given by couple Bob and Delia Baniel, OMPH devotees and Focolare members.
The closing mass will be at 5:30 p.m., with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as the main celebrant.