Onward with the mission

By: Madrileña de la Cerna February 25,2017 - 09:16 PM


The Visayas Our Mother of Perpetual Help has concluded but the mandate to “Make Her Known Throughout the World” continues hopefully on a wider, deeper, and more intense scale. Bishop Oscar Florencio threw the challenge at the opening mass of the Congress that “it is not enough knowing and loving Our Mother of Perpetual Help but we must put flesh to that devotion.”

The talks, homilies, and testimonies in the Congress made us look into our own devotional practice. In his reflections on “The Virtues of Our Mother of Perpetual Help,” which is included in the Congress souvenir booklet, Prof. Henry Francis Espiritu says “Mary’s availability, complete openness and her humble authenticity to accomplish what God desires for her made her the exemplar of the true humanity and empowered womanhood.” As the most attended novena in the Philippines, once more we were reminded when gazing at the icon of Mary’s finger pointing to Jesus that the perpetual help is Jesus and Mary is the Mother of Jesus, To Jesus through Mary. We were also reminded that the devotion to the OMPH is not just a personal dedication but communal.

Because our devotion is communal, there are recommendations of conscientization for inclusion or adoption in the novena texts like concerns related to the environment, fears of displacement because of global change. There is also a concern on how Christians could erase biases against people of different faith. There is the challenge on how devotees could be instruments of peace within their communities. Special attention is needed on the proper use of social media. There should be concern for the ongoing terrorism. Popular devotion is related to Filipino life, justice. Devotion to Mary urges us to move against injustice. True devotion calls for a firm stand against extrajudicial killings.

As a prelude to the Visayas Our Mother of Perpetual Help Congress, two activities provided two new routes for the mandate and the mission. The Jan.

31, 2017 episode of “Sa Mata sa Kababayen-an” of CCTN, a weekly TV program of the Legal Alternatives for Women, Inc. (LAW Inc.) was an example of “Making Her Known” to women victims of violence and abuse, advocates and the women audience in general. Fr. Glenn Tito Pascual, CSsR, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Visayas Congress of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, shared the rationale and activities of the OMPH Congress and the various services among them counseling extended by the Redemptorists to devotees and non-devotees. LAW, Inc. whose advocacy is women empowerment by campaigning against violence against women welcomed “Debo(mi)syon” as their new motto in empowering women on top of providing legal services and extending livelihood assistance to their clients. For indeed, “making her known” provides inner strength to women victims of violence and abuse. It will help them cope with and even triumph over their difficulties. This is an interesting route for debo(mi)syon.

Part of the celebration of the 150th jubilee of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is the Film Festival on “The Filipino as a Devotee of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.” The three entries submitted through the Visayas OMPH Congress were screened to a limited audience on February 10 at the back of the Redemptorist Church. All made by Mass Comm students from the universities in Cebu City, the entries showed a great potential for aspiring and young filmmakers. In fact one of the entries struck the chairman of the board of judges, Radel Paredes of CDN, as one “with a poetic imagery, an avant-garde approach to religious cinema one rarely expects to see in one of the rooms of a church.”

The theme of the jubilee film festival has provided content and direction for the young filmmakers. But it’s not only for filmmakers but for all the young who would like to develop their talents or want to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions in whatever medium they would like to use.

The beautiful cultural presentation on the second day of the Visayas OMPH Congress by the Youth Ministry entitled “Maria: Make Her Known Concert” at the SM Seaside City was an example of a very wholesome, entertaining, and aesthetic presentation. The youth is another and even more challenging route for this mission.

With the Visayas Our Mother of Perpetual Help over, the mission continues with more zeal and ardor for as the congress theme exhorts us, “Every devotee is a missionary.”

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TAGS: Bishop Oscar Florencio, CCTN, Christians, concerns, Florencio, hopefully, killings, Make Her Known Throughout the World, OMPH, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Visayas

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