Pope’s envoy celebrates mass at Manila Cathedral today
Today, December 8, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Envoy of Pope Francis, His Eminence Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda, the Archbishop of Osaka, will preside a Mass at 12 noon at the cathedral to honor the Patroness of the Philippines
and the Manila Cathedral.
He will be assisted during the mass by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle.
December 8 will also be the start of the two-day celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Manila Cathedral post-war reconstruction and consecration.
Cardinal Tagle has invited the faithful to visit the Manila Cathedral on December 8 and 10, to celebrate the anniversary.
"I hope you could mark these dates as days when the Filipino people can come together as brothers and sisters in our Mother Church, and show that hate and destruction can be overcome by God's rebuilding love. These are very special occasions of our Mother Church. Please come home!” he said in a video message posted on the Manila Cathedral Facebook page.
Pope’s Envoy in Manila Cardinal Maeda “brings a message and a special blessing from the Holy Father himself," Father Reginald Malicdem, rector of the cathedral, said in a statement.
"It is a very symbolic gesture on the part of Pope Francis to send a Japanese Cardinal as Envoy. Aside from being the newest Cardinal in Asia, Cardinal Maeda’s presence on December 8 will signify the reconciliation and peace between our two nations once torn apart by war," said Malicdem.
In the letter of Pope Francis to Cardinal Maeda released originally in Latin by the Vatican on December 1, 2018, the Pope writes: “You are to act in our name, therefore, on the 8th day of the coming month of December, more than four years since we have visited it, at the Cathedral in Manila – also called the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – giving thanks to God for the beauty of this temple, but most importantly for the lively faith of the pastors and of the Christian faithful . . . We therefore abundantly pour upon you our Apostolic Blessing; and we generously share it with all of those to whom you will be sent: beloved pastors, seminarians, religious men and women, and lay Christian faithful, most especially the poor and the children.
Masses will also be held at 7:30 a.m. and at 6 p.m.
At the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City, a high mass will be celebrated by parish priest Rev. Fr. Dennis Soriano at 3:30 p.m.
The Grand Marian Procession, a prelude to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, was held last Sunday, December 2, in Intramuros, Manila.
Several Catholic schools also held Marian vigils and living rosaries last night in anticipation of the feast.
In Catholic churches and Marian shrines across the country, Marian devotees are expected to attend the special commemorative masses in honor of the Principal Patroness of the Philippines.
Novenas, special devotions, candle offerings, and the recitation of the holy rosary will also be observed.
The observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the Roman Catholic dogma, “Ineffabilis Deus,” as defined by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854 which affirmed the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary, “in the first instance of her conception, was, by a unique grace and privilege by the Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”
According to Church officials, “The universal redemption of Jesus was anticipated for Mary at the time of her conception by her mother, Saint Anne, in view of her divine motherhood. Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. While humans are cleansed from original sin through baptism, in Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the onset.”
In 1858, during the Blessed Mother’s apparition in Lourdes, France, she introduced herself as the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette.