PARAÑAQUE City, May 7, 2014—May being the month of Our Lady, the public, especially those with a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, are invited to the first “Grand Marian Exhibit” to be held at the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, Parañaque City from May 15 to 22.
“The special event will serve as a fitting prelude to the 40th founding anniversary of our shrine and parish on May 24,” Mary, Help of Christians Shrine secretary Belen Bauza shared.
Some 60 much venerated statues and icons of the Virgin Mary owned by custodians and collectors of religious artwork from different parts of the Philippines will be on display after the official opening on May 15, right after the novena mass at 6:30 p.m.
The exhibit will include replicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fátima, Lourdes, the Abandoned, the Most Holy Rosary, Porta Vaga, La Naval, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and the Immaculate Conception, among many others, including less familiar ones.
“Of course, Mary Help of Christians will be there as well,” Bauza said.
The shrine is dedicated to “the promotion and propagation of knowledge of and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Help of Christians”.
The shrine-parish church was constructed in May 24, 1972 on a piece of land donated by the Serrano and Dolor families at Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque, near the Provincial Office of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
In June 1975, His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin created the parish of Mary Help of Christians and designated the shrine as a parish church and the Salesian Fr. Pierangelo Quaranta as its first pastor, who also oversaw its completion.
The Parish of Mary Help of Christians was officially inaugurated at the shrine in July 24, 1975, and was consecrated on December 4, 1976 during the silver jubilee year celebrations of Salesian presence in the country.
In 1985, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared the Marian sanctuary a National Shrine.
In 1994, it welcomed the earliest known statue of Mary Help of Christians in the country. (Raymond A. Sebastián)