Davao Welcomes the Icon

by Chloe Que, CSsR

Davao Redemptorist Mission Community participates in the 150th year of making Her known. A Mindanao-wide Marian Congress was organized on September 2-3, 2016. Before the Marian Congress, a week-long celebration was set in place to prepare for the congress and to better make her know in Davao.

The week-long pre congress kicked off with the opening of a Marian Exhibit on August 29, 2016 in Abreeza Mall, Davao City. A blessing by the rector, Fr. Bert Cepe, C.Ss.R. formally opened the exhibit which displayed the History, meaning and symbolisms in the Icon, and many other different icons of our Mother. During the week, different activities and contests were conducted at the exhibit area.

14184337_1122077291163578_6313548567075896311_nHigh school students from different schools in Davao actively participated in the Marian Quiz Bee and the Marian Poster Making Contest. The highlight of the pre-congress week was the Flash Mob and the Choir Mob on the evening of August 31, 2016. Our youth in Davao, friends, choir members, and the students disguised themselves among the mall goers. And when the time was right, about a hundred dancers and singers graced the people in Abreeza Mall with their performance – even Alfie (the mascot) was there!

Davao Marian Congress
The Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that was blessed by Pope Francis arrived on the afternoon of September 1, 2016; so did most of the delegates for the Marian Congress. There were delegates from the different Redemptorist Communities in Mindanao including the areas of the Redemptorist Itinerant Mission Team. There were also delegates from Cebu and the Vice-Province of Manila. The two-day Marian Congress opened with a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Bishop Jimmy Afable, D.D., from the Diocese of Digos in the Morning of September 2, 2016. In his Homily, he engaged the people with “Viva Hesus! Viva Maria!” urging the people that our devotion to Mary should lead us closer to Jesus.

14095988_10154010974807869_6102058539114419871_nThe Marian Congress’ bulk was on the four different Talks. First was a talk by Fr. Amado L. Picardal, C.Ss.R. “A Phenomenological and Theological Reflection on the Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the Philippines” was delivered by Fr. Bert Cepe, C.Ss.R. In the afternoon of September 2, the second talk was delivered by Prof. Dale Trazer Mansueto (Historian/Professor, MSU-IIT) on the “The OMPH Devotion: A Historical Perspective.” He detailed how the OMPH Devotion was spread through the Redemptorist Shrines, Missions and Ministries. After the talk the entire delegation attended the procession around Abreeza Mall with the Pilgrim Icon. The day culminated with a Marian Concert “Harana kay Maria” which showcased different Marian songs that were performed by the different choir groups in Davao parish. Some of the students also participated in the concert. Br. Bon and Br. Leony did their solo and a duet. Other guests also performed.

In the morning of September 3, the sad of the Bombing caused the Marian Congress to end half-day short. The two remaining talks were squeezed in the morning. The third talk was by Bro. Karl Gaspar, C.Ss.R. on “El Pueblo Amante De Maria”. It was a thorough discussion on Historico-Anthropological Perspective of the Marian Devotion in the Philippines in general and the OMPH Devotion in Particular. And the final talk was by Fr. Ino Cueto, C.Ss.R. on “DEBO(M)ISYON” a discussion on how o our devotion to Our Mother brings us to participate in God’s Mission.

A celebration of the Holy Eucharist culminated the whole congress. Fr. Nico Perez, C.Ss.R. officiated the Mass while Fr. Ariel Lubi, C.Ss.R. and Fr. Bert Cepe, C.Ss.R. concelebrated. The Pilgrim Icon stayed for a few more days and left for Bukidnon. It was indeed a grace-filled experience for us all; giving thanks to Jesus and Mary for the Blessings and committing ourselves to further make her known and make her loved.

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