Filipino Catholics have a special affinity for the Blessed Virgin Mary and have been devout of several Marian devotions. In fact, many shrines and churches have been built in honor of the Mother of Jesus Christ, not to mention streets and places named after her.
Of the many forms of devotions to Our Lady, some are especially recommended by the Church. Here are some of them–plus the icons to venerate– to guide you throughout the week and for the coming days.
Marian Devotion: The Rosary
Perhaps one of the greatest devotions to Mama Mary is the Rosary. This ancient tradition stems back to the time of St. Dominic who, according to traditions, has received the Rosary from Mary in an apparition at Prouille in 1206 AD. St. Dominic used the Rosary to fight against Albigensian heresy. Numerous Popes also have a special devotion to the Rosary including Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis.
Many Filipinos have asked for the intercession of Mama Mary through praying the Rosary. In 1986, during the EDSA People Power, the Church joined the Filipino people in marching the streets, not armed with guns, but with Rosaries, praying for peace and the restoration of democracy. It is said that the sisters of various congregations began hanging rosaries at guns pointed at them which touched the hearts of the soldiers– a turning point for what was soon to be a peaceful revolution. (Read: This Pinay Started ‘Allora Manila’ to Encourage Praying the Rosary)
Marian Devotion: Our Lady of Czestochowa
Our Lady of Czestochowa (pronounced “chest-ah-hova”) is sometimes called the Black Madonna because of the darkness of the image, which is a result of the soot of so many millions of candles burned in her honor. Tradition holds that she was originally painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. The original image can be found in Czestochowa, Poland, and is attributed with saving a monastery during a Swedish invasion in the 17th century. She is revered as the Queen of Poland and has the title, “One who shows the way.” Our Lady of Czestochowa is an image of hope that she will always lead us back to her son, Jesus Christ.
Marian Devotion: The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
There are many scapulars associated with Mama Mary but the Our Lady of Mount Carmel scapular is revered among all. According to tradition, it was St. Simon Stock, Superior of the Carmelite Order in England in 1251 who was given the Scapular after imploring the help of Our Lady. “This will be a privilege for you and for all Carmelites, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire,” the Blessed Mary said. (Read: Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
Marian Devotion: Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Our Lady of Perpetual Help depicts Mary comforting the child Jesus who is frightened by the implements of His death. In the traditional icon, we see the Cross on which Jesus would hang and the spear that would be thrust into his side. Mary is clothed in blue representing her perpetual virginity throughout her life.
In the Philippines, many devotees of Our Lady of Perpetual Help flock to her Shrine in Baclaran, Parañaque. Her image is one of comfort, as a mother who comforts her children in their time of need. Devotees turn to her when they need the heavenly help of a gentle mother.
Marian Devotion: The Medal of the Immaculate Conception
In 1942, Pope Pius XII declared Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, upon the request of the bishops of the Philippines. The Medal of the Immaculate Conception is said to have been fashioned after St. Catherine Laboure’s vision and on the instruction of the Blessed Mother herself. The front of the medal contains an image of Mama Mary standing on a globe with outstretched hands emitting a dazzling light framed in an oval with the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” On the back of the medal, twelve stars encircle an “M” surmounted by a cross with a crossbar with an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned in thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword appearing underneath. Those who wear the medal after being blessed will be bestowed graces and would be under Mama Mary’s special protection. (Read: Here’s what you should know about the Immaculate Conception)