RMG – Houses of Don Bosco's Madonna around the world: the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians Parañaque City, the Philippines

21 May 2024

(ANS – Rome) – On the second leg of the journey to discover the churches dedicated by the Sons of Don Bosco to Mary Help of Christians, attention goes to the national shrine erected in Parañaque City, Philippines: a spiritual centre that has been a driving force behind devotion to “Don Bosco’s Madonna” throughout the country.

The mark of the widespread propagation of devotion to Mary Help of Christians in the Philippines began with the appointment of the Salesian Archbishop Guglielmo (William) Piani on 17 February 1922 as Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines.

Archbishop Piani was persistent in propagating the devotion to the point that many bishops chose her as the secondary protectress of their dioceses. On his journey to the Philippines, he brought with him a statue of Mary Help of Christians. This was enthroned for veneration at the Manila Cathedral.

In 1942, during the beginning of the Japanese occupation, Msgr. Guerrero took the image of Mary Help of Christians from Intramuros and gave it to Fr Jose Pamintuan (1933-1945), then parish priest of Our Lady of Loreto for safekeeping and gave a clear instruction that every 24th of the month, a mass needs to be celebrated in Her honor, which was faithfully observed.

During her stay at the Loreto Church, a group was formed which was called the Maria Auxiliadora Association propagating the devotion in their place. Many negotiations were involved in estsablishing the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Philippines. Expelled from China and with nowhere to go, the Salesian pioneers came to the Philippines in 1951 only by force of circumstances.

They were surprised to learn of the existence of devotion to Mary Help of Christians already in the country. As the Salesians continued their propagation of the devotion, on 24 May 1972 the cornerstone of the Shrine was laid by Archbishop Carmine Rocco in Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque City.

On 24 July 1975, the Parish of Mary Help of Christians was officially inaugurated.

On 15 August 1985, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines headed by Archbishop Antonio Mabutas approved the statutes bestowing upon the Church the title of a National Shrine.

The Solemn Proclamation took place on 24 August 1985. In the year 1994, upon knowing the existence of the image of Mary Help of Christians brought by Archbishop Piani they have asked the Church authorities and the Loreto Church for the transfer of the image to the National Shrine. It was on 20 August 1994, that the image was transferred to Paranaque where she is now enshrined.

In the letter dated 16 November 2021 the Congregation for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, issued the decree granting the Pontifical Coronation of the venerable image in the name of Pope Francis to the deepening of devotion and spiritual growth of the people toward the Mother of God.

From the book “Novena to Mary Help of Christians” published by the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians Parañaque City, the Philippines


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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