TACLOBAN City, Sept. 15, 2016 – “Come to Me, the Perpetual Help, Jesus Christ who is the expression, the manifestation of God’s unconditional love.”
This is the message of the popular icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, said Redemptorist priest Gary Alvarado.
In his Sept. 14 novena Mass homily to mark the visit of the international pilgrim icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the priest likened the image of Our Mother to Christ Jesus hanging on the cross and Moses’ bronze serpent on the pole, which the Israelites looked upon for healing.
“As we gaze at the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, as we look at the child in the image and the hand of Mary pointing to Jesus, we could see how God shows us his eternal love for us,” he explained.
The visit of the pilgrim icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Philippines is part of the commemoration of the 150th year since Pope Pius XII entrusted the icon to the Redemptorists in 1866.
Blessed by Pope Francis, the said icon flew in from Rome and has been in the different Redemptorist churches in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, including Tacloban, said Fr. Leo Armada, parish priest of OMPH parish in this city.
“Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a mother and her help is a constant refuge and like a mother she always looks after us and cares for us,” explained the priest.
“Her help is perpetual, never-ending, just like her son Jesus, the main source of redemption, main source of perpetual help,” he stressed.
The faithful have been queueing for their turn to kiss the pilgrim icon, one of the eight icons blessed by Pope Francis and sent to different countries across the globe to be venerated in Redemptorist churches.
‘Icon of love’
Lawyer and entrepreneur Jerry Uy felt so privileged that the icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help, an icon of love, was brought to the Philippines, particularly to the city of Tacloban.
“With our present situation, we need the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in praying that our city be free from disasters and calamities and that violence would end in our country and in other parts of the world,” he said.
Uy, who witnessed the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta in Vatican, added: “The pilgrimage of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help reminds us that we should show mercy by overt acts to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.”
He believes that each person can be an instrument in sowing love to others.
For physician Lynnor Barrot-Gler mvenerating the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help strengthens the people’s faith.
She commented, “The more reason for us to come over and pay respect to Our Mother of Perpetual, especially that the image came yet from Rome and is here to bless us.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)