By Christina I. Hermoso
Church-run Radio Veritas is inviting the public to visit and pray before an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title Maria Auxiliadora de Marawi until January 19 at the Our Lady of Veritas Chapel in Quezon City from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
During the five-month battle of Marawi last year, the revered image was reported to have been desecrated when the rebels torched and attempted to destroy the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City.
According to Radio Veritas, a new replica was donated by a Marian devotee and propagator of Mary Help of Christians devotion and was turned over to the St. Mary’s Cathedral as a donation of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco and the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians.
The donation was made after the replica took part in the Intramuros Grand Marian Procession last December. Mary Help of Christians is one of the many titles by which Catholics have come to venerate the Blessed Mother, dating back to the fourth century. Being the mother of Christ and given her unique role in bringing about God’s plan, Catholics have traditionally viewed her as a particularly effective intercessor.
The title as we know it now came into being in 1571, when the Ottoman Empire prepared to invade Europe. In the face of this threat, Pope Pius V called on Catholics to pray for Mary’s intercession. The Turks were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto, leading the pope to regard Mary as Our Lady, Help of Christians. Her feast day is May 24.