To build a more progressive nation, President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged the Filipino Catholic community to “work in solidarity” on the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary.
“I join the entire Filipino Catholic Community in celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary,” Duterte said in his message, wishing for a “joyous” and “meaningful” occasion.
He said Blessed Virgin Mary’s “exemplary life of piety and virtue” helped influence the faithful in becoming “agents of compassion and justice” in the society.
The President also cited her “selfless service and devotion to her family and absolute faith in the Almighty” as a guide for all Filipinos in overcoming trying times.
“May you be inspired by the Immaculate Conception to continue fostering peace and understanding among every citizen regardless of their faith of creed. It is my hope that you will remain committed in realizing genuine and lasting change so that everyone may attain their hopes and dreams,” Duterte said.
“As you embody her holy example in your daily lives, I encourage you to work in solidarity to build a progressive, prosperous and inclusive nation,” he added.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, for his part, asked the faithful to embody Mary’s “faithfulness, humility, simplicity, and thoughtfulness” in the modern world.
“May we remember Mary’s selfless acceptance of her sinless conception of our Lord Jesus Christ which led to the realization of God’s planned and promised salvation,” Andanar said.
“Let this realization serve as a reminder for everyone to be kind-hearted, humble, and kind to each other as we continue to live by God’s teachings and to fulfill His commandments,” he added.
Duterte, through the signing of Republic Act 10966, declared December 8 of every year as a special non-working holiday in celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of the three holy days of obligation for Catholics every year. The other two are Christmas, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1, New Year’s Day.
According to the Holy Bible, Immaculate Conception marks how the Virgin Mary was born free from original sin by virtue of the graces as Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It also notes that God granted Mary exemption from the original sin at the first moment of her conception, keeping her “immaculate.”
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Genero “Genie” Diwa, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP-ECL) urged the faithful to attend the Eucharistic Celebration on Monday (Dec. 13).
“But the faithful are encouraged to attend the Mass on December 9 as a manifestation of their deep filial devotion to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the Philippines,” he said.
The Manila Cathedral also invited the faithful to celebrate with them the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“Celebrate our Lady’s feast day here with us at the Manila Cathedral, the first Cathedral of the nation dedicated to the Immaculate Conception,” it said in its Facebook account.
The Fiesta Mass will be celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at 12:10 p.m. on Monday.
Concelebrating with him are Cologne Archbishop Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki and Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. (PNA/FP)