The Lipa Community of the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Manila, Philippines, celebrates 75 years of Novena in Southern Tagalog with the theme: “Years of Perpetual Help: Commemoration and Celebration of the 75th Year of Mission and Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Southern Tagalog (Mga Taon ng Walang Hanggang Saklolo: Pagalaala at pagdiriwang sa ika-75 taon ng Misyon at Debosyon sa Ina ng Laging Saklolo sa Timog Katagalugan). Various church volunteers participated in the re-enactment of the perpetual Novena using the same format that was used in 1948, followed by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by the Vice-Provincial Superior, Fr. Victorino A. Cueto, with Fr. Bonifacio Flordeliza as the homilist. He was the most senior member of the Filipino Redemptorist of the Vice-Province and served as Rector of Lipa for three terms. During his homily, Fr Boni shared that the American soldiers brought the Novena to the Philippines from Boston, USA. The first Novena was held in St. Clement’s Church, Iloilo, on May 13, 1946. A year later, on June 13, 1947, it was introduced in Lipa by Fr. Gerard O’Donnel, C.Ss.R., then in the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran by Fr. Leo English, C.Ss.R. on June 23, 1948.
It was indeed a very blessed occasion. The Novena-masses from June 18-26 were presided by the Bishops of Southern Tagalog Dioceses and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese. The main presider for the Perpetual Help Fiesta Celebration was the local ordinary of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Archbishop Gilbert A. Garcera, D.D. The activity culminated with a procession, which was joined by hundreds of devotees. There was enormous participation of the people during the celebration, which marked the first time the devotees gathered again after two years of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Quoting Bishop Marcelino Antonio “Junie” Maralit of the Diocese of Boac, Marinduque, “our devotion will only be meaningful if it will usher us to the mission.” Faithful to the call of Pope Pius IX to make Our Mother of Perpetual Help known throughout the world, the Redemptorist Lipa Community will launch an Icon Mission called “Lakbay Maria” in the provinces within Southern Tagalog. The mission will be in collaboration with the Confraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (COMPH) and the Lay Partners of Divino Amor Church.
Fr. Ariel M. Lubi, C.Ss.R.
Photos: Brennan S. Remiendo and Alex A. Quijano