The Philippine Church is celebrating 500 years of Christianity. Because of this, our Baclaran Shrine, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, is chosen as a Jubilee church and will be opening a Jubilee door soon.
Pope Francis sent a video message for the 500th anniversary of the first preaching of the Gospel in the country (April 4, 2021). In it, he shared with them three mysteries of faith, which are part of the deepest Christian roots of the Filipino people: Nazareth, the Cross and Pentecost.
He said that the tender love of the Holy Child, “which is a symbol of the arrival of Christianity in your archipelago, reminds us of the hidden life of the Holy Family in Nazareth.” By opening the doors of your families to the Holy Child, he said, “you too will be able to transmit to your children the faith that you received from your parents.”
Dwelling on the Cross, the Pope recalled all the difficulties that the people of the Philippines have had to face, especially in the years of immediate preparation for this jubilee. He called to mind the earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Turning his attention to Pentecost, the Pope reminded the faithful of the Philippines that Pentecost “is a point of arrival, but also a new beginning.” He recalled the Mother of Jesus who was always at his side at the most difficult moment of his life, “standing at the foot of his Cross.” The Pope also pointed out that Mary “never leaves our side” and asked for her intercession “for a new Pentecost of the Church in the Philippines.”
Redemptorists in Philippines
On June 30, 1906, seven Redemptorists arrived at Opon on the island of Mactan in the Philippines to begin a new mission. They joined Fr. Andrew Boylan, C.Ss.R. who had already taken up residence in Opon earlier in the year. The arrival of these seven Redemptorist confreres marked the beginning of more than 100 years of the Redemptorist mission and presence in the country where without doubt the Congregation was to play a significant role in both the religious and social life of the people.
This commemoration of the beginnings of the Redemptorist in the Philippines is an opportunity to give thanks first of all to the Lord for leading and guiding the Redemptorists especially in the trying times of missionary growth.
It is also an opportunity to give thanks to the Filipino people especially the poor and ordinary people in the missions who because of their hospitality, courage and ingenuity in embracing the faith and the good news have made Redemptorists realize that they too were evangelized. This is also an opportunity to give thanks to the pioneering Redemptorists, from Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and our own Filipino confreres, most of them have passed away, for their great dedication and sacrifices in learning the language, understanding the culture and living with the people just for the sake of preaching the good news especially to the poor and most abandoned people of the many remote barrios of the country.
This is also a special opportunity to give thanks to our Mother of Perpetual Help who has guided the Redemptorists in the missions especially in the spreading of her Son’s abundant redemption to all.
When the Redemptorist came to Baclaran in 1932, Baclaran was a small desolate village of grassland near the sea. Little did they imagine that someday, the small wooden chapel would transform into the biggest shrine in the world dedicated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Little did they imagine that someday, Baclaran would transform into a booming town and an international pilgrim center.
The phenomenon exploded after the Redemptorists began the novena in 1948. Only 70 people attended the first novena. After a week, the number of devotees doubled. After several weeks, it came to a thousand. After a few months, it came to several thousands. The rest is history!
The phenomenon was not abrupt. It passed through several stages to arrive at where it is now.
– Mission before the Novena (1906 – 1932)
– The Move to Baclaran (1932 – 1948)
– The Explosion of the Novena (1948 – 1958)
– Spread of the Devotion All over the Land (1958 – present)
After receiving blessings from God and transformed through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, they became inspired to spread the good news about the perpetual help of God through Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Today with the Covid-19 pandemic
Catholic devotees pray outside the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Paranaque on Wednesday. Members of the Philippine National Police secured the area to ensure that physical health protocols are observed as devotees arrive for the weekly novena while Metro Manila remains under enhanced community quarantine.