Oldest Marian Image in the Philippines celebrates 450th year

In celebration of the 450th anniversary of the finding of Nuestra Señora de Guia, Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo reminded the faithful of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role as our guide as God fulfills his plan of salvation.

In his homily at the Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish Church, also popularly known as Ermita Church, on Wednesday, May 19, Bishop Pabillo encouraged everyone to seek the intercession of Mary as Our Lady of Guidance who served as patroness for the place known for being sailors’ wharf for centuries.

“She is really Nuestra Señora de Guia, but not only for seafarers but also for us, so whenever we are confused, whenever we have problems, let us come to this Church. Ask Our Lady for guidance. She will not leave us confused. She is always there,” he said.

Citing the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday, the Apostolic Administrator illustrated Mary as a mother to the disciples of Jesus in times of uncertainties.

“When the apostles were confused because the Lord has left them and they’re all alone by themselves, Mary was among them – praying with them, waiting for the promised Spirit to come on them. And that’s the role of Mary as our mother – she strengthens us, she guides us especially when we are confused, especially when difficulties come along our way,” Bishop Pabillo said.

He exhorted the faithful to keep the faith and not be dismayed by the struggles like the Blessed Virgin as we continue to face the pandemic and the ongoing armed conflicts around the world.

“My dear friends, no need to be afraid. No need to be confused. All these things that are happening around us is according to the plan of God. God has a plan and this plan is towards salvation,” he said. “Yes, we may be experiencing difficulties now in our life, but surely, this is not the end. This is just a means going to salvation. And that has been proclaimed by Mary. That’s why hopefully, we can sing together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, “My soul glorifies the Lord!” He is true to his promises, what he promised to Abraham. He is now fulfilling in Mary and also in us. So let us not be discouraged.”

Recognized as the oldest existing Marian image in the Philippines, the wooden black Madonna was discovered by the crew of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi on May 19, 1571, while being worshipped by natives on a pandan bush near the seaside now known as the district of Ermita.

Nuestra Señora De Guia (Our Lady of Guide) has been the sworn patroness of the city of Manila through a decree issued by King Philip II of Spain in 1578 and became the patroness of travelers and navigators since the Spanish era. (Lem Leal Santiago/SOCOM-Binondo Church | Photo from Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Guia)


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *