Queen of Heaven, We Rejoice!

The Papal Bull

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, through the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, issued a Papal Bull on 5 September 2019 in response to a letter from His Excellency Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD, Bishop of Cubao, requesting for a canonical coronation of the image of Our Lady of Lourdes located at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Quezon City.

Translated from the original document in Latin, it says “To the request of His Excellency, Honesto F. Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao, with the letter dated June 26, 2019, by the power of the special faculties, given to this congregation by Pope Francis, willingly we grant that the gracious image of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, which is venerated in the national shrine in Retiro St., Quezon City, in the name and authority of the same Supreme Pontiff be crowned with a precious diadem. Anything in contrary is not at all a hindrance.”

This means that the 126 year-old image of Our Lady of Lourdes enthroned at the main altar of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Retiro, Quezon City, venerated by generations of devotees in the parish and around the Philippines, will receive a jeweled crown, expressing high respect, zeal and love, and triumph. “Canonical” refers to the image bearing a specific title. It is the highest distinction the Church grants to an image.

How it Started

The wonderful unfolding of events started with the idea of Br. John Rey P. Baalan, OFMCap. and Br. Ericson D. Pendoy, OFMCap., both of whom are Confraternity members and Rev. Fr. Francis M. Mesina, OFMCap., to request the Minister Provincial and his Council to petition the Holy Father to Canonically Crown the image of Our Lady of Lourdes at the National Shrine.

An Appeal

Ms. Amy Alde, National President of Archconfraternity wrote in her letter to Rev. Fr. Eugenio Juanilo P. Lopez, OFMCap., Provincial Minister Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (Philippine Province) and General Director, ARCHCON-PHI that, “…for more than a century, the white dress with its blue sash, worn by the members of the Archconfraternity and affiliate members became a common sight throughout the Philippines, a strong reminder of God’s ever-abiding presence. Also the numerous grottos found in the homes of most Catholics remind each family of the virtues of humility, obedience and simplicity which the Virgin taught St. Bernadette.” She ends her letter on a stirring note, “This coronation from Your Holiness will confirm and strengthen the bond between the devotees of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Church of Rome with whom we wish ‘to remain united … until the hour of death’ (Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes, Capuchin Brothers, Imprimatur 1953) as we always pray in our novena to Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Fr. Eugene writes to Pope Francis

Rev. Fr. Eugenio Juanilo P. Lopez, Minister Provincial of the Capuchins in the Philippines with the consent of his Provincial Council, wrote His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, DD, and His Excellency, Most Reverend Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD, and His Holiness, Pope Francis, “to grant the devotees the precious gift of crowning the image of the Virgin that is enshrined at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, in response to the petition of the devotees on the occasion of the centenary of the Archconfraternity of the Philippines.”

The Answer

Finally on September 22, 2019, on the eve of the Feast of Padre Pio, Rev. Fr. Eugenio Juanilo P. Lopez, OFMCap. received a phone call from His Excellency, The Most Reverend Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD, Bishop of Cubao, congratulating him for the Canonical Coronation of the image of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Details of the coronation date will be announced soon!

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