Pilgrims touch an image of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Manila during the global pilgrimage-congress on April 26 to mark the 150th jubilee of the icon. (Photo by Vincent Go)
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato urged Filipinos to follow the example of the Virgin Mary and listen to the "cry of the poor" in an unconditional way.
"May we follow her in her love that is open to all, the rich and poor alike, the marginalized, those that are cast out of society," the cardinal told thousands of devotees of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
The Philippines is hosting this week a global pilgrimage-congress in Manila to mark the 150th jubilee of the icon of "Our Mother of Perpetual Help."
The Byzantine icon of the Blessed Mother with the Child Jesus was entrusted to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1866.
Cardinal Quevedo said Mary suffered with Jesus and "suffers with us and shares our sorrows and pain."
The prelate said Mary's compassion has no boundaries even for drug addicts.
"May we imitate her compassion that embraces all those who suffer as victims of many injustices, addiction, victims of killings, those who suffer including ourselves," said the cardinal.
He said Mary suffers with victims of calamities, crimes, human trafficking, poverty, and social injustice. "And she cries when she hears the cry of the poor," he said.
The international gathering at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Manila carries the theme "Icon of Compassion: Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the 21st Century."