Members of the clergy and Marian devotees are expected to attend the commemoration of the 400th year of the arrival of the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the country from Mexico on Friday.
The “Salubong and Traslacion”, a celebration of the arrival of the image four centuries ago, will unfold at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on May 4.
The religious event will begin with a fluvial procession at 5 a.m., to be followed by a Mass to be presided by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.
One of the highlights of the occasion will be the “Traslacion” or the procession of the image at 8 a.m. on the way back to San Sebastian Basilica, where the figure is stationed, passing by the Quiapo Church, where the Black Nazarene image will be brought out for the traditional “Dungaw”.
The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel will be made available for public veneration upon its arrival at the Basilica, the country’s iconic and only all-steel church.
Meanwhile, Valles urged those who will attend the event to pray for the welfare of the country.
“We urgently need to seek Our Mother’s intercession to protect the Philippines against natural calamities, the ongoing attacks on the sanctity of life and of the family, and other serious difficulties that our nation faces,” he said in a statement.
The whole-day event will be capped by a 6 p.m. Mass and the re-enthronement of the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Basilica.
In 1618, the image arrived in Manila along with missionaries from the Order of Augustinian Recollects. It started the Brown Scapular devotion in the Philippines.
Initially housed at the San Juan de Bautista de Bagumbayan Church at the Luneta, the image was enthroned at the first San Sebastian Church in Quiapo when it opened its doors in 1621.
Canonically crowned in 1991 by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin under the authority of Saint John Paul II, Our Lady of Mount Carmel remains the Queen of San Sebastian Basilica, as well as of Quiapo Church.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is also a major figure in the annual Black Nazarene feast, where she appears during the “Dungaw”, awaiting the passing in the procession of the image of the black Jesus Christ every January 9. (FP/PNA)