Marian Exhibit opens in Nuestra Señora de Regla Shrine in Lapu-Lapu
LAPU-LAPU City, Cebu, Philippines — May is the best month of the year for the youth to be greatly devoted and to show their love for the Virgin Mary.
This was the message of Fr. Bernard Corpuz, MSC, the parish priest of the Nuestra Señora de Regla Parish National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City for the opening of their first ever Marian Exhibit inside their proposed Shrine Museum.
Corpuz said that at least 31 different images of the Virgin Mary is displayed inside the museum where the devotees and hopefully, the youth can see and appreciate.
Nuestra Señora de Regla Parish will be celebrating its 12th year of being a National Shrine on the 26th, which consequently falls on May when Flores de Mayo, which is also Marian tradition, is celebrated.
Corpuz is hoping that the exhibit will remind the parishioners, devotees, and the youth of the role of Mother Mary in the salvation of mankind through her son, Jesus Christ.
“We are really hoping that the youth will come to the exhibit and see the different images of Mama Mary,” said Corpuz.
Our Lady of Rule
Among the 31 images of Mary inside the museum, the local patron, Nuestra Señora de Regla or the Lady of Rule, is encased in a glass case at the center of the exhibit.
Fr. Corpuz relayed how the Our Lady of Rule came to be one of the most venerated images of the Virgin Mary.
According to Corpuz, the Nuestra Señora de Regla was highly venerated by St. Augustine of Hippo, who had a black little image of Mary in his oratory. Augustine said that it was the Mother Mary who gave him the rule to direct his monastic community.
It was in 1330 in Spain when the Virgin Mary appeared to a priest and in a vision told him to go to the location of the hidden sacred image so that the image might be safely placed inside a Marian Church.
During his journey, the priest fell asleep then he heard a “sweet voice” saying that he was in the spot. A ball of fire struck a certain tree, but did not burn it, indicating the spot where the sacred image was buried.
The priest unearthed a huge rock which was actually the opening of a cave where St. Augustine’s Lady of Rule was hidden. It was inside a wooden crate with a perpetually burning lamp beside it.
A church was soon built around the cave and the image was enshrined there.
The image reached the Philippines in 1735 brought by a Spanish priest, Francisco Avalle. The village of Opon chose the image to be the patron of the place.
Since then, various miracles have been recorded because of the Our Lady of Rule in Opon and on 2007, the parish became the National Shrine for the Nuestra Señora de Regla in the Philippines.
Images of Mary and Veneration
Nuestra Señora de Regla is only one of the images of the Virgin Mary that Catholics venerate. Others include the Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Our Lady of the Candles.
Corpuz said that the veneration of the Virgin Mary had been deeply imbedded in the Filipino culture.
As it is, the Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of Cebu.
He said that the characteristics of Mary would be something the youth should follow especially her obedience to God when she agreed to be the Mother of Jesus.
“I hope that this exhibit will serve as a reminder of purity and sanctity of the Virgin Mother, and the youth with follow her example of obedience,” said Corpuz.
The Marian exhibit is located on the second floor of the Nuestra Señora de Regla church in Opon. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May 26.
Corpuz reminds devotees and visitors not to touch the images because some of them are very old, and most are made of fragile materials.
The priest said he was hoping that the exhibit would serve its purpose of the strengthening the faith of the Marian devotees to the one God, the way that Mary’s faith was strong. /dbs
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