Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes: Comforter of the Afflicted and Health of the Sick

Originally authored on February 10, 2018

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It was May 8, 1892 when the Capuchins opened the first chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in our country. During the outbreak of Spanish-American War in 1898, the Capuchin community gathered at the chapel and before the venerated image of the Virgin promised solemnly to dedicate to her the new church that they were building if she would save the house and the city of Manila from the terrible destruction of the announced bombing by the Americans.

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Manila did not suffer the fearful effects of the bombs of the military fleet from Dewey and the powerful protection from Mary was obtained. Being faithful to his promise, Rev. Fr. Alfonso of Morentin, the superior of Capuchin Fathers consecrated to the Virgin of Lourdes the new church and was officially proclaimed the “Titular of the Church of the Capuchins”.

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In January 1908, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Apparitions, the first procession was held. This has been done every year with multitude of devotees joining up to the present. The new church was inaugurated on February 3, 1910. Great enthusiasm supported the campaign to solicit funds to make a wonderful crown for the Virgin. Jewels, diamonds, and big sum of money voluntarily offered to pay the cost. The famous artists Pablo and Ventura Gabriel intricately did it with great love and care, wholly of pure gold. The stars that surrounded the crown are all diamonds and jewels.

According to history, days before the feast of Lourdes in February 1945, the Japanese ordered all residents of Intramuros to leave their houses. The Capuchin brothers were forced to abandon the church and hurriedly carried with them the image of Lourdes taking refuge at the wide sacristy of San Agustin Church. They were able to continue the daily novena exercises with other religious orders and devotees. Later, all the gathered religious articles like ciboriums, chalices, monstrances, relics, and the treasures of the Virgin of Lourdes: crowns, rosaries, and jewels were put in an iron box and deposited at Agencia de Empenos of Raimundo Salonga in Binondo.

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In March 1945, through the help of Augustinian priest, Fr. Mc Carthy, the Capuchins brought the image of Lourdes to the University of Santo Tomas and after the Holy Week was transferred to the Chapel of Santa Teresita. It was the parish where the Virgin of Lourdes stayed until the new church in La Loma, Quezon City was built in 1950 and inaugurated in February 10, 1951.





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