ILOILO CITY -- Devotees of the revered Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Senora dela Candelaria) on Saturday gathered at the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo City to celebrate the feast of the patroness of Western Visayas region and the Jaro district.
“This year draws the devotees to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Year of the Youth as it goes with the theme: The Year of the Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered,” Jose Romeo O. Lazo, Archbishop of Jaro, said in his message published at the Jaro Fiesta Special Issue of Candle Light.
“We rejoice for another year of grace and a brand new opportunity to come together as God’s holy people and converge our paths at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles, Jaro, Iloilo City, as we celebrate the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Our Blessed Mother this Jaro Fiesta 2019,” he said.
Lazo said the fiesta is an “opportune time to renew our commitment to see in the light of Christ, the realities of our Church and country today.”
This year’s prayers go to the youth, for them to be able to see the greatness of being disciples of Christ “who walk by faith and not in sight,” as stipulated on 2 Corinthians 5:7.
“For there is no greater darkness that can befall a person than to know not Christ is our light and Glory (cf. Luke 2:32),” Lazo said.
Meanwhile, in his message published in the Jaro Fiesta Special Issue of Candle Light, Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD, Archbishop-Emeritus of Jaro,, addressed parents, teachers, and communities to be with the youths in their path towards the development of their talents for the good and progress of the community.
“Let us prepare them to become good leaders and even politicians who will serve our country for the good of the community and for the Greater Glory of God (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam),” Lagdameo said.
He invited the devotees to “renew our country with the enthusiasm and learning and courage of our youth.”
“Let them tell the story of Jesus Christ with their life,” the message further read.
He prayed that the Lady of Candles would enable the youth to become the light of the world as Jesus invited them to be.
Lagdameo also ministered the solemn procession that commenced at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Feast of the Nuestra Senora dela Candelaria is one of the most celebrated religious events in the city of Iloilo. Thousands of Marian devotees gather for the annual fiesta, professing how their lives were touched as a result of their devotion to Mama Mary.
The shrine is also known for miracles, especially in times of calamities. The Marian image was “canonically crowned” by Pope John Paul II on February 20, 1981 and on April 21, 1982, he named it “Patroness of Western Visayas”.
It was elevated into a national shrine by the CBCP on July 6, 2011. (PNA)