Popular religious icon moved from Manila shrine

Our Mother of Perpetual Help icon has been the center of Marian devotion in the Philippines for more than a century
Popular religious icon moved from Manila shrine

The icon of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help is taken down from the altar of a shrine in Manila for only the third time since it was first taken down during World War II. (Photo by Vincent Go)

ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Philippines
September 6, 2019
A popular religious icon, an object of veneration for Filipino Catholics for many years, was temporarily removed from its altar at a Manila shrine on Sept. 5.

Church officials said the removal of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help icon is so the church's altar can be renovated. They did not reveal how long the renovation work would take to complete.

Officials said it was only the third time the icon has been removed from the altar since it was first taken down for "safekeeping" during World War II.

The icon at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help has been the center of Marian devotion in the Philippines for more than a century.

Thousands attend masses on Wednesdays at the shrine in honor of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

"On this very rare occasion, we will have a lifetime chance to have a face-to-face encounter with the icon," read a statement from the shrine.

"May this experience help us reflect and be moved by our God, who always comes down from heaven to meet us in the rough grounds of daily living," it added.

Redemptorist priest Victorino Cueto, rector of the shrine, said the taking down of Mary’s image from the pedestal is a chance for her "to be close to us and meet us in an encounter of life and love, of faith and mission."

The Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also known as the Lady of Perpetual Succour, is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon.

The icon has been in Rome since 1499 and is permanently enshrined in the church of Sant'Alfonso di Liguori, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help text is prayed weekly.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this artistic iconography is known as the Virgin of the Passion or Theotokos of the Passion due to the instruments of the Passion of Christ present on the image.

In 1865, Pope Pius IX appointed Redemptorist priests as custodians and missionaries of the icon. The image has since become popular among Catholics and has been copied and reproduced.

The Redemptorist congregation is the only religious order currently entrusted by the Holy See to protect and propagate a Marian religious work of art.

A copy of the icon arrived in the Philippines in 1906.

The Redemptorist church in Manila's Baclaran district, where the icon is installed, is one of a few churches in the Philippines that have been allowed by the Vatican to open 24 hours since the 1950s.

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